Hammel, House Dems Stand Against Destructive Budget

Budget fails to create jobs or ease burden on seniors and middle class
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

LANSING - House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Township) and members of the House Democratic caucus today voiced and voted their opposition to the Republican-backed omnibus budget stating that it follows last year’s lack of job creation, taxes raised and increased burdens on seniors and middle-class families, and little or no commitment to reform, transparency or accountability.

“What’s disappointing is that after all the sacrifices the Republicans demanded of our families, our kids and our seniors, there is no relief from that next year,” said Hammel. “This budget does nothing to create a single job in this state but will guarantee fewer jobs, making life even harder on middle-class working families, while protecting six-figure salaries for appointees of the Governor.”

The budget eliminates thousands of jobs, including more than 1,100 in the Department of Corrections, raising questions about adequate staffing and public safety. The Republican budget also fails small businesses by undercutting growth and job creation tools that contain accountability and instead focuses on corporate handouts. Next year’s budget also makes it more difficult for local communities to maintain public safety, to create healthy and secure communities or receive the support they need to avoid the appointment of unelected emergency financial managers. What little help is offered comes with strings attached making it virtually impossible to access.

“This budget is more bad news for struggling Michigan families,” said Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (Battle Creek). “It fails to provide relief to our middle-class families and contains no accountability for Republicans’ reckless and harmful corporate handouts and increased senior taxes. Our residents need more jobs, not less; our kids need better schools, not more cuts; and our seniors need immediate tax relief from Republican tax increases on them from last year. Unfortunately, they will get none of that in this Republican proposal.”

Next year’s budget also follows last year’s mistake of putting all of the departmental budgets into one huge bill, as opposed to individually as done in the past. Omnibus bills don’t allow for a transparent review or for the public to understand the merits and problems of individual departmental bills like Corrections, Human Services and Community Health. They are designed to confuse and provide cover and mean less accountability of government to the people we represent.

“The real losers in this budget are the residents of our towns and cities,” said State Representative Richard LeBlanc (Westland), who serves as Minority Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “We have seen revenue sharing continually cut by this Legislature and it has undermined our ability to keep police on the streets and residents safe in our neighborhoods. Republicans and the governor seem very content to dispatch emergency financial managers to our struggling towns while failing to take responsibility for creating the economic hardship that allows the appointment.”