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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GOP Steals From School Kids

Mention the word "surplus" in this town and the joint goes nuts. In
these awful economic times, the word has all but been expunged from the
lexicon of every legislator around.
But alas there is about a $400 million surplus in the fund that
goes for educating our children i.e. the K-12 school aid fund. And the
GOP long knives are out to use it, pronto.
Hold the phone. Aren't the Republicans the ones who always argue
against spending as they normally berate the Democrats for going after
every penny in sight?
The word Republican goes hand in hand with fiscal conservatives,
but on this issue, it's the GOP that wants to raid the surplus and it's
the D's who have their finger in the surplus dyke.
'Splain, please.
The education lobby and democrats argue the extra money should be
put in a lock box, thank you Al Gore, for the rainy day that is due
next year. Spend it now and when it starts to pour, the money won't be
How fiscally conservative can you get, yet the R's claim shifting
the surplus to higher education is the right move. In fact the
powerful chair of the senate budget panel says it is an "absolutely
necessary policy."
"It's wrong. We should not steal from our children who are the
future of Michigan," complains East Lansing Democrat Sen. Gretchen
Whitmer with two little girls at home.
"It's a bad message," echoes Pontiac Democrat Rep. Tim Melton who
thinks the GOP is playing games.
By law the Republicans can not move the surplus into the state's
general fund because the money is earmarked for education. Ah, but.
They can shift it to the higher education budget and then withdraw the
money from that budget to balance the General Fund.
Melton says, "Slight of hand. Maybe."
Look it. The GOP does not want to raise taxes, yet it knows there
is a hole in this years budget and it does not want to cut more
services. Hence, take the money from the surplus and through the back
door, pour that into the budget deficit and presto change-o, the budget
is balanced.
Pretty nifty…and sneaky to boot.
It's yet another election year example of how the Republicans
will do anything to avoid raising new revenue for vital state services,
even if it means stealing it from the mouths of K-12 kids.


Anonymous Debbie Squires said...

Everyone keeps calling these dollars a surplus. They are not a surplus when K-12 funding was cut this year and planned to be cut next year. You can call it a surplus when the cuts are restored! But until then - THERE IS NO SURPLUS!!!!

June 16, 2010 at 8:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie is correct. This money is, at best "better-than-expected revenue" from the sales tax. Rather than seeing a 3 percent decline, we only saw a 2 percent decline. Using every penny of this revenue would still leave a $100 per pupil cut for K-12, not to mention what would happen if it gets spent on general fund obligations.

June 16, 2010 at 8:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us know if the state budget EVER gets cut.

It only increases, kids.

June 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM 

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