Govenor Granholm and the legislature are in a bind. Granholm line-item vetoed an additional $127 per pupil, on top of the $165 per pupil already in the budget, as well as $52 million for high-spending school districts. Granholm claims she did so because there wasn't enough revenue coming in to pay for the budget passed by congress. She is pleading with the Republican-majority in the Senate to raise more "revenue", in other words, raise more taxes. The current economic climate shows falling sales and income tax revenue as people make and spend less than previously. Gov. Granholm considers additional K-12 school budget cuts .
Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says that taxing the already over-taxed public would be a mistake and that using children as a way of forcing more taxes is just plain dirty. This statement comes after Granholm held another closed door meeting with school district officials, with a few noteworthy ones absent, asking for thier help in getting more revenue from the legislature. This meeting drew a large crowd of protesters ranging from moms to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who was not invited to attend the roundtable meeting. The protesters argued that government and school officials alike knew that cuts needed to be made and that taxing the already struggling public was a mistake. Granholm countered after the meeting that she was hoping to avoid a tax on the general public to fund education. Granholm meeting draws protesters
Bishop has said repeatedly the Senate does not intend to approve tax increases because the people of a state with a nation-leading 15.3 percent unemployment rate can't afford them. Granholm supports a 13 percent reduction in business tax credits, another increase in taxes on noncigarette tobacco products, and freezing the personal exemption from the state income tax in order to erase the $127 per pupil cuts and the $52 million cuts from high-spending districts. Granholm hopes to preserve the Michigan Promise scholarship for college students by limiting the income tax credit for low wage-earners to 12.5 percent rather than the scheduled 20 percent. The Governor and the Legislature have till midnight on October 31st to figure the budget out. Granholm, Bishop battle over tax hike
Whatever happensn, if taxes are raised or created or left alone, one thing is clear: there must be some level of responsiblity claimed by government and school officials for letting this crisis come down so close to the wire. Our schools cannot keep sustaining such incredible cuts and our people cannot keep paying higher and more taxes as unemployment rises. The numbers showed a long time ago that tax revenue was going down as well as school enrollment was. No matter what our Michigan government and school officials do, they must do something, soon.
The effects of the pro-rata cuts made by Govenor Granholm will have an intense affect on all school districts. Saugatuck Schools for instance, boasting a 96% graduation rate and of those 98% going on to 2 or 4 year colleges, is among the disricts, who despite planning for a hit to thier budget, are now left scrambling for funds. Obviously parents, educators, and administrators are all discouraged about the budget cut, but are not down for the count quite yet. Superintendant Rolfe Timmerman says that the quality of education will not disappear, the schools will have to become, "leaner, and meaner, and come out swinging" showing that even in these trying times, attitude is half the battle. Saugatuck Schools scramble to deal with funding cuts
The optimism runs out short of Capital Hill. The Govenor, after vetoing $52 million for districts and another $127 per pupil, is trying to put the spotlight on the Senate Republicans as her final term as govenor nears its end. By design, the $52 million cut affects many of the districts that high-ranking republicans come from, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop's home district of Rochester. Granholm has said that if Senate Republicans want to have an all cut approach to the budget, then cut away, she may be hoping that the cuts will then be "blamed" on the Senate and not on her. Critics of the cuts claim that more could have been cut out of the Corrections budget and that new or higher taxes should have been considered more deeply. The cashed-strapped middle class however, does not think along those same lines. Granholm puts Senate Republicans on spot