Friday, October 2, 2009

News of the Day

Granholm will use veto power on budget

Thursday, Gov. Granholm declared she would use her veto power on the 2010 budget that the House and Senate sent her this morning.

She said she would use her veto power to shape a budget that “diversifies the economy, educates students and protects people at risk.”

Early Thursday morning, the Senate approved a continuation budget that ended a brief government shutdown. But the House couldn’t get the votes for the proposed $218-per-pupil-cut in the School Aid budget—despite an agreement between leaders of both Chambers to do so.

What’s Next?

Yesterday was School Count Day. Schools now know how many students they have to educate, but they have no idea how much money they can count on from the state to educate those students. It will be another two weeks when the Legislature must pass a budget in order to meet the October school aid payments.

The only way to avoid drastic cuts is through added revenue. The question is where that money will come from. And that means our work is not done. We need to continue advocating for students and preserving the quality of education in our state.

Click here for information about Kent County student counts.

A recent EPIC/MRA poll showed that an overwhelming majority—77 percent-- of Michigan residents responding, said, “Don’t cut education.” Rather, they support a budget that is a combination of cuts and new revenue sources.

New revenue is needed. The unfortunate possibility is that a revenue source may be the Michigan Health Benefits Program (HB 5345) as proposed by Speaker Andy Dillon. Our fight against this threat to our health care, our bargaining rights and our union is still out there as legislators look for ways to avoid drastic cuts to education.

Freshman lawmakers propose earlier budget deadline

Today, a bipartisan group of freshman state representatives introduced a bill that would force legislators to finish the state budget by July 1. This comes on the heels of the brief government shutdown this morning.

A state referendum to change the constitution would be necessary. According to the bill, if lawmakers didn’t settle a budget by July, they would forfeit their salaries for each extra day it takes to deliver a budget. That would amount to just over $300 a day.

There would need to be a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to get the bill on the state ballot for the Aug. 2010 primary.

Public Employee Health Care Reform Committee

The next meeting of the Committee to hear testimony on the Michigan Health Benefits Program (HB 5345) is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8.

State health scheme vs. federal health reform

When will it take effect?

State Plan
It will depend if, and when, the law is enacted. Health benefits that are required under a contract in effect on Jan. 1, 2010, would continue until the contract expires.

Federal Health Reform Plan
Depends on when the law is passed and what provisions are included in the final version. Some provisions will take time to implement.