03/06/19: Governor Whitmer Proposes Bold Budget to invest in Education

Fwd: Governor Whitmer Proposes Bold Budget to Invest in Education

Dear Colleagues:

Here is information from our excellent AFT Michigan lobbyist, Julie Rowe, on the budget proposal for the coming year from the Governor. The increase of 3% for higher education is better than nothing, but it doesn't make up for the cuts that have been experienced over the past decade. These cuts have resulted in increases in tuition in order to maintain our institutions. Where our University once got 65% of our funding from the State and 30% from tuition, after years of cuts, those figures have reversed themselves, 2/3rds of our funding from student tuition. We need a real commitment to increases in the State higher education budget that will address these cuts. Your Union, with the support of AFT Michigan, will be working for policies that will accomplish this goal.


---------- Forwarded message ---------

From: Julie Rowe, Legislative Mobilization Coordinator <jrowe@aftmichigan.org>

Date: Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 12:06 PM

Subject: Governor Whitmer Proposes Bold Budget to Invest in Education

To: <tforce@aaupaft.org>

Dear Tammy,

Just now, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a bold plan addressing the big challenges facing Michigan. As promised, the governor's top priorities are fixing Michigan roads and offering a significant investment in students, schools, and educators.

We will provide more analysis and updates as the Legislature considers the Governor's proposal and engages in the budget process.

Budget Highlights:

  • $507 million additional investment in K-12 education, including $235 million to increase
  • Per-pupil funding increase of $120 to $180 per student
  • Expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program by $85 million to increase availability of preschool programs
  • $24.5 million in funding for early literacy, tripling the number of literacy coaches in the state
  • Provides $50 million for the creation of the Michigan Reconnect Program for tuition-free training to certification or professional credentials
  • Creates the MI Opportunity scholarship to provide tuition-free community college and financial support at four year universities
  • Three percent increase in funding for public universities and community colleges
  • Repeals the Retirement Tax and replaces the revenue with a pass-through tax on business entities that creates tax parity with traditional corporations
  • Raises $2.5 billion new annual revenue to fix the roads by phasing in a fuel tax increase in 3 steps of $.15 a gallon
  • Doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit for working lower-income families

AFT Michigan President David Hecker's Statement on Gov. Whitmer's Budget Proposal

"We applaud Governor Whitmer for introducing a game-changing education budget – prioritizing the future of Michigan by investing in children, public schools, and educators

"Michigan ranks 50th in the country for growth in school funding, after a 30 percent drop in funding from 2002 to 2015 — the proposed increase of half a billion dollars is reflective of our Michigan values of equity and opportunity for every student. Governor Whitmer understands we must fund our future.

"For decades, AFT Michigan members advocated to increase education funding and address the challenges facing students living in poverty and students with special needs.

"We are grateful that Governor Whitmer’s first budget proposal reflects that she takes seriously the needs of those who spend every day educating students. Her proposed investment in early childhood, career and technical, and literacy education is essential to put our students — and our state — on a pathway to success.

"As a participating organization in the Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative, we are glad to see the Governor’s proposal takes the research-informed steps to funding schools through a model designed to ensure education resources are allocated through an efficient and equitable model.

"Through the MI Opportunity Scholarship program, more Michigan students than ever will have access to postsecondary education, providing free community college or two years of post-secondary education for all qualified high school graduates. Additionally, Michigan’s public universities and community colleges would see a three percent increase in operations funding.

"Michigan’s schools are woefully underfunded; students and educators have been shortchanged for far too long. It’s time Lansing takes seriously the need to raise revenue to invest in education. We appreciate this important first step, and call on the Michigan Legislature to act swiftly to do what is right for Michigan’s children and fund our future."