February 5, 2014

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Latest News, Michigan

Snyder’s Budget Address Nothing More than Smoke and Mirrors

In today’s budget address, Rick Snyder tried to rewrite his record and make false claims about his priorities, but it was nothing more than a campaign stunt. Snyder’s devastating budget policies have cost Michigan seniors more than $650 million a year, according to the non–partisan AARP.  Snyder has left seniors out in the cold by taxing pensions, raising property taxes and eliminating tax exemptions they benefit from, while cozying up to corporations by giving them a $1.8 billion tax cut. That’s the real Rick Snyder.

To make matters worse, Snyder claimed he’s restoring funding to education, but the reality is Snyder cut over $1 billion from education. Students and teachers have suffered the consequences of these detrimental cuts that threaten the state’s long-term economic future.

Michigan seniors need a governor who will fight to protect the lifetime of benefits they’ve earned.  Students and teachers need a governor who understands investments in education lead to a stronger economy and a competitive workforce.  Michigan needs a governor who isn’t going to make false promises while rewarding corporations and the wealthiest – and that’s exactly what Michigan will get by electing Mark Schauer.

BACKGROUND:

AARP: Snyder’s Budget Polices Have Cost Seniors More Than $650 Million. AARP Michigan estimates that the combination of the state pension tax, the elimination of the $2400-per-senior tax exemption, and the increase in property taxes because of changes in the homestead tax exemption has cost Michigan seniors more than $650 million per year. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to make public his budget proposal later this month. [Public News Service, February 2014]

Snyder Signed Budget Cutting Business Taxes by $1.8 Billion While Taxing Pensions. “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law the $47.4 billion budget that lawmakers sent him last month, putting in place a plan that he said will require sacrifice but mark ‘a major milestone in the reinvention of Michigan’ […]“Critics said the budget makes overly painful cuts to public schools, universities, local governments and key services. School districts saw funding cut by 2.2 percent, which has led to widespread teacher layoffs. Universities saw their state funding cut 15 percent, and local governments will see about $100 million less.” “The budget eliminated a deficit of more than $1 billion while funding a business tax cut of close to $1.8 billion. It taxed public pensions and reduced exemptions for private pensions, eliminating a slew of business and personal tax credits and making sharp cuts to funding for cities and higher education.” [Associated Press, 6/22/11; Detroit News, 6/21/11]

Loss of Homestead Credit Would Lead to Hire Taxes for Seniors. “The loss of the homestead credit for an estimated quarter-million households means a net tax increase even for senior couples unaffected by application of the income tax to pensions. A couple in which the older partner was born in the years 1946 to 1952 (assumed to be age 66 in the example), and who receives $30,000 in pension income and $22,000 in Social Security would remain tax-free. With the loss of $430 in homestead credits, they would still see a loss in income.” [Grand Rapid Press, 7/13/11]

Snyder Cut Over a $1 Billion from Education:

  • K12 cut: $930,663,300
  • Community college cut: $12,000,000
  • Higher education cut: $216,000,100
  • TOTAL education cut: $1,158,663,400 [FY 2011-12 SCHOOL AID BUDGET]

Snyder Cut $1 Billion from School Aid. Initial reaction to Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal was generally positive – mostly because Michigan is in better financial shape than it was 12 months ago. But the $14.7 billion education package laid out Thursday relies heavily on incentive-laden funding some say is unfair. And it fails to fully restore funding cuts made last year, when Snyder trimmed more than $1 billion from Michigan’s School Aid Fund. [Detroit News, 2/10/12]

Snyder’s Final Budget Cut University Funding by 15 Percent. “Critics said the budget makes overly painful cuts to public schools, universities, local governments and key services. School districts saw funding cut by 2.2 percent, which has led to widespread teacher layoffs. Universities saw their state funding cut 15 percent, and local governments will see about $100 million less.” [Detroit News, 6/21/11; Associated Press, 6/22/11]

Final Budget Deal Included $470 Per Student Cut. “The agreement still reduces the foundation allowance for K-12 from $7,316 to $6,850, about $470 per pupil. But it adds back $20 million in categorical spending Snyder cut, including $13 million to reduce class sizes.” [Grand Rapid Press, 5/20/11]

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