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NEW TV AD: Snyder Gutted Education To Reward His Administration Officials & Family

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The Democratic Governors Association today released a new television ad in the Michigan governor’s race highlighting how Governor Rick Snyder cut $1 billion from education while giving officials in his own administration huge pay raises and how his administration gave his cousin millions of dollars in state contracts.  The spot, “Teacher,” features Kim Stanley, a teacher for 25 years, who questions why Snyder thinks “those things are more important than our schools.”
“Governor Snyder cut $1 billion from education to give pay raises to his officials and his administration gave millions of dollars in state contracts to his cousin,” said DGA Communications Director Danny Kanner. “Michiganders already know that Snyder thinks tax cuts for businesses, even if they ship jobs overseas, are more important than investing in students and keeping taxes low for seniors, but this is appalling even for him. Mark Schauer’s plan calls for investing in a world-class education system that is the key to long-term growth, and finally building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest and Snyder’s well-connected cronies.”
Watch the ad here:
“Teacher” is the seventh television ad that the DGA has run in Michigan.

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Video: Kim in school hallway on
camera, interview-style
B-roll of Kim teaching students in classroom.
Audio: I’m Kim Stanley.  I’ve been teaching for 25 years.
I think education is the most important investment we can make.
Video: Back to Kim interview.
Rick Snyder Cut $1 billion from Education
Audio: Governor Rick Snyder cut a billion dollars from education.
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 Fund. “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 K-12 Education Funding by 2.2 Percent and Universities 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]

Video: Shot of Kim kneeling at desk working one-on-one with a student.
Rick Snyder’s Own Administration Officials Got Huge Pay Raises
Audio: But gave his own administration officials huge raises – one makes three hundred thirty thousand dollars a year.
“State’s top investment officials get giant pay raises.” The State of Michigan quietly increased the salaries of its top investment officials in the Treasury Department by more than 80% this year, saying it was too difficult to attract and keep qualified people under the former pay rates.
Jon Braeutigam, the state’s chief investment officer, got a 90% pay raise to $333,000 a year from $175,000, department spokesman Terry Stanton confirmed Friday… Richard Baird, the top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder, confirmed to the Free Press that he was instrumental in adjusting the salaries. [Detroit Free Press, 11/24/13]
Snyder Defended Major Pay Raises to Treasury Officials. “Snyder, responding to a follow-up question on Monday night, also explained why officials in the treasury’s Bureau of Investments received major pay raises last year, making them some of the highest-paid employees in state government. Chief Investment officer Jon Braeutigam, for instance, got a 90 percent pay raise from $175,000 to $333,000 a year.
Snyder said the raises were approved following a market analysis showing the investment officials — who manage state pension funds and oversee roughly $71 billion in assets — did not earn as much as their counterparts managing public or private funds of similar sizes in other parts of the country. ‘These are rare professionals that manage money, and we were significantly underpaying them and were having a lot of them leave,’ Snyder told students. ‘We were having turnover issues in terms of keeping these people.’” [, 2/12/14]
Video:  Kim standing at door as students leave class for the day.
Rick Snyder’s Administration Gave Millions In Contracts To His Cousin’s Company
Audio: And Rick Snyder’s administration gave millions in state contracts to his own cousin.
Michigan Truth Squad: No foul on Dems’ questioning treatment given to Gov. Snyder’s cousin. “The state Democratic Party obtained emails showing that George Snyder, owner of DBI Office Interiors in Lansing, expressed worries in April 2011 to a top aide to the governor about legislation that could have harmed his company, which sells office furniture to state government agencies. In an email to top Snyder aide Richard Baird, George Snyder said he was “very upset and nervous” about a 2011 Senate bill (page 70) that would have capped new state office furniture purchases at $1 million. Any amount above that would have required the purchase of used furniture. Baird in turn sent an email to then-state budget director John Nixon, telling Nixon of George Snyder’s concern and said George Snyder is “Gov. Snyder’s cousin.”
“We are on this,” Nixon replies. The legislation was subsequently changed to allow new furniture purchases of more than $1 million, but requires the state to first consider whether its inventory of furniture can be reused or refurbished before making such a purchase. Holland-based Haworth Inc. at the time had a $19.2 million contract as the state’s sole-source provider of office furniture. That contract was boosted to $41 million in September of 2012, according to a contract obtained by the Democratic Party. (Page 6) DBI Business Interiors is a preferred Haworth dealer and through that relationship has sold millions of dollars of furniture to the state…Had the cap on new furniture expenditures been adopted by the Legislature, Haworth and George Snyder stood to lose millions of dollars in future business with the state. . . . The narrative in the Democratic Party’s news release is not in dispute. . . . George Snyder did his cousin no favors by asking Baird to intervene, and the outcome of his actions certainly raise fair questions about the role family ties played.” [Bridge Magazine, Truth Squad, 5/15/14]
George Snyder is owner and president of DBI Business Interiors. “George Snyder is owner and president of DBI Business Interiors, a Lansing company that installs new furniture for Haworth Inc. and competes for refurbishing work with Kentwood Office Furniture. In the spring of 2011, Kentwood Office Furniture’s lobbyist got senators to add boiler plate language to a budget bill that capped new furniture expenses at $1 million and prohibited state agencies from hiring DBI because of its partnership with Haworth Inc. installing new office desks and cubicles. “Kentwood was trying to legislate their business plan and that just wasn’t going to work — I wasn’t going to allow it,” former state budget director John Nixon told The Detroit News on Tuesday. “To allege that DBI has received any special treatment at all as a result of him being the governor’s cousin is just ridiculous. The only thing DBI has gotten is more scrutiny.” [“Michigan Dems accuse Snyder of helping cousin avoid state budget ax,” Detroit News, 3/25/14]
DBI was more than one of Haworth’s subcontractors. Page 17: DBI Business Interiors in Lansing (Haworth’s Lead and Managing Dealer) Page 18: In the relationship with the State, Haworth is the Contractor and is solely responsible for meeting the State’s requirements. Key Dealers are assigned as servicing centers to support the execution of the contract. One managing Dealer, DBI Business Interiors, has been appointed to lead these efforts. [Haworth-State of Michigan Contract]
FOIA Documents Showed Snyder’s Cousin Sought Advice on How to Keep Contract for New Furniture. “The records, obtained by Democrats through a Freedom of Information Act request, show the Republican governor’s cousin, George Snyder, sought Baird’s advice on how to get the Legislature to keep in place a contract for new furniture that benefited his company. George Snyder’s DBI Business Interiors installs new furniture for Holland-based Haworth Inc. as a subcontractor. “We are very upset and nervous about the language in the Senate budget bill on furniture, any advise (sic) on who I can discuss this with,” George Snyder wrote to Baird in an April 29, 2011 email. . . . DBI has gotten more refurbishing work under Gov. Snyder. The firm’s refurbishing work during the last three fiscal years of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration totaled $601,843. During Snyder’s three years in office, DBI has done $873,267 in refurbishing work, DTMB records show.” [“Michigan Dems accuse Snyder aides of helping cousin avoid state budget ax,” Detroit News, 3/25/14]
“DBI Business Interiors, which George Snyder co-owns and has offices in Lansing and Jackson, is paid to install new furniture in state offices – cubicles, desks and the like – for contractor Holland-based Haworth Inc. DBI also competes for furniture refurbishing work with Grand Rapids-based Kentwood Office Furniture and was concerned the Senate budget bill would have limited spending on new furniture to $1 million a year, a clause the Snyder administration says was inserted to guarantee refurbishing business only for DBI’s competitor. Baird quickly replied to reassure George Snyder that then-budget director John Nixon’s “people are on this. Sit tight.” More than an hour later, Nixon emailed Baird to say “we are on it.” The House did not include the furniture change in its budget bill, and it never became law. In July 2011, when George Snyder emailed Baird about a possible meeting with Nixon to discuss the furniture procurement process, Baird forwarded it to Nixon and mentioned George Snyder’s relationship to the governor. . . . . Democrats also questioned why in September 2012 the value of the five-year Haworth contract more than doubled, from $19.2 million to $41.4 million. In May 2013, the value of a separate five-year Haworth contract – for office seating – rose from $4.7 million to $7.2 million, according to an Associated Press review of the state’s contracts database. . . . State budget office spokesman Kurt Weiss said DBI as a subcontractor dealer gets an unspecified cut of the Haworth contracts. The reason the overall contracts’ values were raised, he said, is because the Snyder administration is eliminating costly leases by moving employees to buildings the state already owns.” [“Democrats: Snyder Aides Helped Cousin Avoid Cut In State Contract,” AP, 3/26/14]
Democrats: Snyder Aides Helped Cousin Avoid Cut in State Contract.“Democrats also questioned why in September 2012 the value of the five-year Haworth contract more than doubled, from $19.2 million to $41.4 million. In May 2013, the value of a separate five-year Haworth contract – for office seating – rose from $4.7 million to $7.2 million, according to an Associated Press review of the state’s contracts database.” [“Democrats: Snyder Aides Helped Cousin Avoid Cut In State Contract,” WWJ (AP),3/29/14]
Video: Back to Kim interview.
End with shot of Kim turning off lights in the classroom.
Audio: I don’t understand how Governor Snyder can think those things are more important than our schools.