Senate Democrats Comment on Governor’s Budget Presentation

LANSING—Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich and Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee issued the following statements today in response to Governor Rick Snyder’s budget presentation.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint): “Right now it looks like a lot of tax increases to fill the holes created by the Republicans’ previous budgets. To that point, I can say with certainty that the Democratic Caucus will always fight to ensure middle-class taxes do not go up and schools and public safety are funded—hopefully my Republican colleagues will join us.”
Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield): “As a former police officer, I am glad to see public safety funding is a budget priority. I have fought for expansion of the Healthy Kids Dental program in every Senate budget of the last four years, and I am particularly excited by the Governor’s recommendation to finally stop excluding Oakland, Wayne, and Kent County kids—I hope the legislative leaders of his party follow suit. However, I strongly disagree with the Governor in cutting millions from state programs while increasing the Rainy Day Fund to over a half billion dollars and I believe we can do better for the citizens of Michigan.”
Senator Coleman A. Young II (D-Detroit): “Governor Snyder’s budget is a lot like a Clint Eastwood movie—it’s got the good, the bad and the ugly. After fighting for more funding for public safety and public education over the last four years, I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to working to protect them in the upcoming budget. I also hope the Legislature will follow his lead in expanding dental care coverage to low-income kids in Detroit and Wayne County. The continued raiding of the School Aid Fund—money that was explicitly designated by voters for K-12 schools—for other budget areas in the upcoming budget is bad.
“But asking us to shift $250 million from it right now to fix a hole blown in the budget by tax breaks for wealthy corporations is deplorable.”
Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-Lansing): “My goal is to ensure we fully fund our top-notch higher education institutions. The $28 million increase proposed to help our 15 public universities is a good start. I’m hopeful we can continue to look for ways to make higher education more attainable for Michigan’s young people so they can live and work here without being saddled by student loan debt.”
Senator David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights): “Michigan’s labor community has been producing quality skilled trade workers for decades, so I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to making an investment in increasing their ranks. As part of his commitment to bridging the gap between available skilled trade jobs and unemployed Michigan residents, I hope the Governor will partner with the labor community in order to ensure that existing workers and those about to leave their training will have the chance to fill these good-paying jobs.”
Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor): “We should be investing more in education, so I am disappointed that the Governor is proposing to divert another $200 million away from our schools. I appreciate some of the investments in education funding in next year’s budget, but I will oppose taking so much from the School Aid Fund this year.”

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