Concerns about the state of the state

The VIEW from here

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

OK, anyone who has followed the state’s economic woes in recent years knew going into the November election the next governor was going to have some tough choices to make.

A $1.5 billion deficit is no laughing matter.

There were no magic bullets to fix the problems in Lansing, no wand to be waved to instantly fill the coffers with money, create more jobs and put everyone back to work.

We knew things were going to get worse before they got better.

Gov. Rick Snyder recently unveiled his proposed budget, which is supposed to be heavy on cutting taxes and spending. He boasts about simplifying the tax code to get rid of loopholes, eliminating the business taxandreplacingitwitha6percent corporate tax rate and lowering the personal income tax from 4.35 to 4.25 percent.

I was OK with some of this, skeptical about the tax cuts and reforms, but downright dissatisfied with the cuts to education. I think we all knew there would be cuts to education made once again, but this budget cuts funding to universities by 15-percent and reduces the school budget by $470 per pupil. That’s a huge hit, especially for public schools already suffering from cuts made under the Granholm administration.

Job creation is important and the governor’s theory is tax cuts for businesses will promote more jobs. The tax code changes will put more money in people’s pockets, so the thinking there is it might help stimulate the economy. But I don’t understand the logic in cutting education that deep.

If you want to secure Michigan’s future, you have to educate the children. If you want to keep people in this state and draw more people here to live, you have to have strong public schools. This budget has essentially dumped on public education once again.

While the governor was revamping the tax code, maybe he should have revamped the school funding formula. Educators, administrators and parents have been calling on our elected officials to do something about the way schools are funded for a long time now.

Want to change something? That’s where he should have started. Tax breaks for everyone are nice, but can we really afford it right now?

Snyder is calling for shared sacrifices right now by all Michigan residents, but this proposed budget seems to ask more of the middle and lower classes than it does the upper class and corporate world. It seems heavy on cuts to families and children, two places where the burden of these hard economic times have fallen far too often.

I’m trying to stay open-minded here because I am hoping for change out of this administration and I see some effort at that here. I don’t care if the governor is Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, I just want someone to look out for the schools. I don’t think that’s happened before in recent times and I don’t see that happening now.

No one is going to come out of this budget unscathed, but I hope the governor and the legislature will look at education more closely and do what they can to lessen the blow there.

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