Mich’ed up priorities

By Marissa Luna

For over a decade, state legislators have been making budget cuts that are hurting Michiganders.

In a little over one week from today, the new fiscal year 2015 state budget takes effect and legislators start planning for the 2016 fiscal year budget.

In 2011, legislators gave corporations a $1.8 billion dollar tax cut. Michiganders were promised that corporate tax giveaways would create good-paying jobs, but there was no accountability and no evidence of job creation.

Those failed tax cuts were paid for by further defunding our communities and handing the bill for the cuts to working families and seniors.

As a resident of Michigan, you should be worried about this because it directly impacts you and your family.

Legislators have cut crucial revenue sharing that helps local governments pay for services like police and fire protection. Now, there are over 4,000 fewer police officers and firefighters protecting our homes.

They’ve cut programs like food, disability and cash assistance that many families rely on to survive when they fall on hard times.

They’ve cut education funding, causing classroom sizes to go up, and forcing schools to cut extra curricular programs like music and art and shut down school libraries.

They’ve failed to invest in roads and bridges, leaving Michigan with the worst roads in the nation. We’re about to head in to another Michigan winter. If it’s anything like last winter, our road problems will become even more apparent and harder to fix if our elected leaders don’t find a long-term funding solution.

We all remember seeing the images last month of stranded vehicles and drivers, flooded homes, and residents floating in kayaks and boats to get through the streets of Detroit after the city experienced the second highest single day of rainfall since 1925. Those flooded streets and damaged homes were a result of our state legislators’ failure to make adequate investments in our storm drain infrastructure in Michigan.

People do not want to live and businesses do not want to locate in communities that cannot provide public safety, durable roads and bridges, and other essential services.

We’ve worked too hard and have sacrificed for too long to have our legislature look the other way when our most basic needs are not being met.