Tuesday, October 6, 2009

News of the Day

K-12 Budget impasse halts federal funds

School districts were sent a letter last Friday notifying them that until the Legislature and Gov. Granholm enact a continuation budget or a full-year budget, the state can no longer disburse federal funds.

The affected federally funded programs include: Title I; Special Education; School Lunch Program; Adult and Child Care Food Program; Career and Technical Education; Educational Technology; Improving Teacher Quality; Charter School Funds; Even Start; Migrant Education; Comprehensive School Reform; and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (After School Programs).

School districts and private organizations that operate federal programs normally are reimbursed their federal funds on a weekly basis, according to the Department of Education. Over a normal two-week period, the department processes about $43 million in payments.

The House and Senate have not reached agreement on how much money to put into a continuation agreement.

It’s time to stop corporate greed!

For the past two decades state government has passed through legislation approximately $5 billion/year in tax cuts. Such cuts were designed to stimulate our economy, bring in new industries to replace the dying auto industry, and be the ultimate in job creation.

History has proven this theory wrong as tax incentives have been provided with a modest number of businesses establishing themselves in Michigan, but with little job creation.

Now corporate executives, led by David Branden and Doug Rothwell, are loudly proclaiming that if, the state would completely eliminate their tax burden, in addition to the roughly $2 million a year that have already been eliminated, the state will see economic growth, job creation and a stable state budget.

It is time for the legislature to balance the tax burden—not just on the backs of workers—but also on corporations. Without a balanced approach, Michigan can’t provide a sound public infrastructure, including public education and a place for businesses to develop and grow.

Without a balanced approach, public education suffers and businesses will leave the state. Michigan will continue to experience economic decline and job loss.

Public Hearings on HB 5345 scheduled through November

It was reported that the hearing scheduled for this Thursday would be canceled due to budget discussions taking place all week. However, more than 30 citizens and organizations have requested the opportunity to testify on the legislation. Thus, hearings dates are being scheduled through November so that everyone has a chance to tell his/her story.