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Republicans Ride Roughshod Over Michigan

By Nan Melke - Posted on 06 May 2011

On May 5, 2011 the Michigan State House of Representatives passed the omnibus education budget bill.  This bill devastates K-12 education in our state.  This was a culmination of two weeks of the passing the most destructive pieces of legislation ever written in Michigan. State Senator Gretchen Whitmer estimates that these education cuts will send 150 Michigan school districts into bankruptcy.  Don't get me started on the EFM (Emergency Financial Manager) thing right now.  Keep reading for the rest of the story.

The Republicans manufactured this education funding crisis to give an 86% tax cut to Michigan businesses.  I'm not kidding.  If we had "kicked the can down the road", there was actually a surplus in the school aid fund this year that would have increased per pupil spending in Michigan by $260.  They stole that and an additional almost $800 per student to fund the business tax cut.  That's about $1000 per student.  Oh, but there is more.  

We are also cutting higher education by 15%.  Oh wait, State Representative Agema (R-Dist. 74), aided by House Overlord and Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Dist. 63) passed an amendment to the "omnibus education budget" bill that says if a college or university extends benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees we will cut them an additional 5%.  They are able to just gavel things like that through.  Boom, take that, LGBTQ.  Will this make you wake up tomorrow in job friendly Michigan?  I don't think so.  

As I watched this "debate" take place in the House, I was most offended by the disrespect given to State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Dist. 37).  Representative Barnett was reading an email from a 12-year old constituent, that was well written and heartfelt about the impact of the layoff of a teacher that had been an incredible inspiration and source of comfort to the young student and her classmates.  And in the middle of this letter, Representative Barnett was gavelled down by the Speaker and told to get to the point.  I actually think that says volumes about the Michigan GOP.  They have no interest in listening to the citizens of our Michigan.  The message of the Michigan GOP is 'shut up and go away, little girl.'
The Republicans have a stranglehold on our state government.  What they have chosen to do with their "mandate" is attack and exploit our poor, elderly, schoolchildren, gays, mentally handicapped, kids in foster care and pretty much any other at-risk segment of our population that cannot afford a lobbyist.  You know, it is a hard enough job for me to take care of my elderly relatives, protect my kids, and help out my friends and family that have personal challenges from the problems that come along naturally in life without me having to protect them from their own elected public servants that took oaths to represent them.  The Republicans have misread their mandate.  But we can't count on the mainstream media to let the people know.  We can get our state back, but we have to do the heavy lifting ourselves.  I am ready.
Bonus side note:  On the omnibus budget bill, Democrats introduced 112 amendments in committee and all but 1 were voted down.  However, when Supreme Being Speaker Bolger got the bill on the floor the one surviving Democrat amendment was gavelled down, boom.  What was that amendment for?  The Michigan GOP house members voted down monies for the Agency for the Aging.  Bye, bye Meals on Wheels.  How do you feel about a $79 per year for clothing for foster kids (orphans)?  Never even made it out of committee, I wish I was kidding.  All of that brought to you by the pro-life (but morally bankrupt) Michigan Republican Party.  

The 2012 elections are closer than you think.  Don't wait for maps, get out there and wake up the dems, we need them all . . .

- Chris Jensen (Board Member, CD 9)