Republicans’ budget cuts or eliminates funding for vital programs for low-income children and families

LANSING—Michigan Senate Democrats stood strong in voting against House Bill 5313 today, the Republicans’ General Omnibus Budget that funds—or in many cases, cuts—all of the state departments that Michigan citizens depend on.

“In combining all of the state department budgets into one rolled up in this one bill, the bad outweighs the good and I couldn’t support it,” said Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren). “Despite both legislative bodies working together for months on these bills, Democrats and our concerns on behalf of our constituents were largely overlooked.”

Senate Democrats offered a number of amendments to the individual Senate budget bills, and continued to fight for Michigan residents and the vital services they need throughout the budget process. These concerns were largely ignored in conference committee, where partisanship trumped good policy and many of the final department budgets were made worse than the original Senate versions.

The Senate Democrats’ main concerns with House Bill 5313 included:

  • $7.5 million in cuts to vital funding for the Department of Human Services that hurt their ability to help low-income children and families in need;
  • Outright elimination of funding for the Department of Community Health for the infant mortality study at Hutzel Women’s Hospital, hurting the Department’s ability to study and ultimately prevent infant deaths in Michigan;
  • Cutting the Summer Youth Initiative in the Department of Natural Resources, the summer program for at-risk youth that helps get them outdoors and put them to work maintaining our valuable natural resources;
  • And failing to include Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties from the Healthy Kids Dental Program in the Department of Community Health, our state’s most populated counties with the most low-income kids who would benefit from the program.
    • “This budget withholds dental coverage for low-income kids, cuts outdoor programs for at-risk youth, and eliminates money to address infant mortality, all programs we should be increasing funding for, not the other way around,” said Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield). “This is just the latest bad budget in a string of bad budgets that takes money away from the people who need it the most—low-income kids, working families and seniors.”