PANTHER PRESS – Lansing needs to support education

Let me be clear about one thing. I do not favor transferring almost $1 billion from the State’s School Aid Fund to help balance the State’s general fund budget.

There is sufficient funding in the School Aid Fund to continue to support K-12 education and provide an increase in per pupil funding if the legislators, as they have in the past, will let that fund remain exclusively for K-12 education.

The main reason that there is a giant hole in the general fund is that all budgets currently being considered in Lansing contain the biggest tax cut for businesses in Michigan’s history.

I realize that some people have strong feelings that our business taxes are too high in Michigan and that we need to lower business taxes to bring jobs to our state.

The governor campaigned on that platform.

Yet, when compared to other states the proposed tax cuts will move our state from having business taxes that rank somewhere in the middle to the second lowest business taxes in the country.

If this tax cut is desirable and necessary, does it all need to happen at one time?

Does the replacement of this revenue need to come from our state’s retirees and schools?

Will businesses want to come to a state that has overcrowded classrooms and underfunded schools?

Will our best and brightest students want to consider teaching as a career if salaries and benefits are falling in education?

Will the proposed tax cuts have long term benefits for the future of our state?

I maintain that education needs to be our number one priority. Our children are our future and we need to keep our focus.

We shouldn’t consider borrowing from our future.

Educators in our district and in others are looking at what can be done if this budget moves forward and K-12 education takes the brunt of funding the proposed business tax cut. I hope that other solutions can be found.

The results of these cutbacks to education will not be pretty.