Stealing funding meant for children, veterans and the less fortunate for political gain is shameful and represents the worst kind of politics. Sadly, that is exactly what our governor did.
With bipartisan support, the Michigan Legislature delivered a responsible and balanced budget plan to the governor before the Oct. 1 deadline. The plan increased K-12 education funding by nearly $400 million and invested $400 million more into our roads.
Unfortunately, the governor decided to gut much of it because the budget didn’t include her massive $2.5 billion tax hike on Michigan families. She made a historic 147 line-item vetoes to cut nearly $1 billion in funding, including $375 million in road funding; $128 million from schools; and funding for children with autism, job training and access to health care.
As if her reckless cuts weren’t bad enough, the governor then circumvented our co-equal system of government by taking the unprecedented action of using an administrative board to move $625 million around various departments without legislative or public input.
The governor needs to quit playing games with the lives of northern Michigan families.
She stole vital resources for northern Michigan through her administrative transfers, including $1 million for child advocacy centers, $7.5 million for private well water testing, and funding to study the impact of PFAS on Michigan wildlife and fisheries. She even eliminated $3.5 million in funding for the Centers for Independent Living, which provide support and training for people with disabilities and their families.
The worst part is the governor did it to try to gain political leverage for a 45-cent gas tax increase.
She has been so bold as to email families with autistic children and tell them that if they want the autism funding restored, they should pressure the Legislature to support her budget priorities.
The good news is the governor now claims she would like us to help fix her budget mistakes; the bad news is she remains unwilling to ensure she won’t do it again.
The governor’s infamous transfers imperiled critical services and broke the trust of the Michigan people and the Legislature elected to represent them.
Gov. Whitmer has the power to rescind her punitive funding transfers. Doing so would be an important first step to restoring balance to the budget process and restoring our trust and the trust of the people impacted by her actions.
I encourage residents to call the governor’s office at 517-335-7858 and ask her to reverse the administrative board transfers and commit to ensure that vital services, vulnerable children and people with disabilities are never again used as pawns in a political chess game.
Governing is not a game. The governor doesn’t seem to understand or care that her cuts will have real impacts on real people in northern Michigan.
I stand ready to work with the governor once she reverses her transfers and has agreed to ensure such undemocratic actions aren’t repeated in the future; we can begin to work to restore her cuts and fix the damage she did.