Sunday, February 20, 2011

Michigan Preserves Prisons, Cuts Higher Eduction

Michigan has a looming $1.58 billion budget deficit. According to the Detroit Free Press, many state capital insiders expected prison cuts as steep as $400 million.

Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, surprised many when he made meager cuts to corrections. He said he would ask the legislature to approve the closing of one prison saving $18.9 million. He also said he would seek the privatization of food service and prison store operations, along with administrative reductions to save another $32.3 million.

Overall, Department of Corrections spending would be virtually flat, at slightly more than $2 billion in 2011.

On the other hand, while keeping prisons relatively in tact, he slashed high eduction 15 percent. According to Crain's Detroit Business, six metro-Detroit universities would see their state allocations cut by a staggering $225 million. That would include on University of Michigan, Wayne State, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Oakland and U. of Michigan-Dearborn. Just six universities accounting for 4 times the cuts in corrections.

Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan told Crain's, “It appears we’re going to continue to lead the country in this race to the bottom” of higher education.

Governor Snyder has made a "no new taxes" pledge, as have most of the new GOP governors, yet a 15 percent reduction in university funding will been a increase in college costs. The state will call it higher tuition, in reality its an eduction "tax" for hard working Michigan families trying to send a kid or two to college.

How will the budget cuts affect average Michigan families with children in college? Lets look at Bubba Doe. Bubba is a gun packing, pick-up driving Dearborn resident who voted GOP in part because of the no tax pledge. He works hard for his money and he "don't want the government gettin' it." Lets say Bubba works for ABC Automotive making $50,000 a year. He has a daughter at XYZ University paying $10,000 a year in tuition.

If Michigan would have raised taxes by one percent it would have cost Bubba $500 and tuition at XYZ would have remained the same. However, no new taxes; a 15 percent drop in allocation to universities; and in turn a 15 percent increase in tuition--final cost $1,500.

Call it what you want, but Bubba is $1,000 poorer as a result of the governor's no tax pledge.

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1 comment:

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