FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods)
March 23, 2007 ` 517/373-78881
EXPERTS DETAIL IMPACT OF BUDGET CUTS
Residents air questions, concerns
LANSING –Citizens attending the Budget Town Hall Meeting at the Southfield Public Library last
Tuesday night heard a panel of experts discuss the negative impact that further budget cuts would have on
their respective fields. Residents also had an opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns. The
meeting was hosted by State Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) and State Senator Deb Cherry (D-
Burton) along with Representatives Paul Condino (D-Southfield), Aldo Vagnozzi (D-Farmington/
Farmington Hills) and Andy Meisner (D-Ferndale).
State Treasurer Robert Klein provided testimony and analysis of the crisis facing the state. He explained
that, without an increase in revenue, Michigan will experience a nearly $3 billion short-fall, $900 million
in Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) and $2 billion in FY08. Neglecting to increase revenue will result in cuts to
higher education, prisons, health care, and possibly K-12 education programs, especially those intended to
help high schools meet the state’s new graduation requirements and programs for at-risk students.
Representatives from law enforcement, municipalities, school districts and universities testified as to the
impacts of recent and further cuts. Law enforcement and city administrators reiterated the difficulties of
local governments in light of reduced revenue sharing. A local school superintendent detailed how school
funding cuts are magnified in smaller school districts. And the Executive Director of the American
Association of University Professors (AAUP) stressed the importance of higher education to the new
Audience concerns ranged from strengthening efforts to bring global industry to Michigan to whether the
Governor’s budget plan is a short-term or long term solution. Questions included what revenue sources
are most reliable for funding education. And suggestions included implementing a statewide scholarship
program similar to the Kalamazoo Promise and enacting legislation to collect sales tax on catalogue and
internet sales. Several also suggested expansion of the MI Choice health care program.
Democrats support a comprehensive plan put forth by Governor Jennifer Granholm that includes
restructuring the tax system, increasing revenues and reductions in spending. The plan will provide
enough revenue to close the current budget shortfall and address structural concerns. It also replaces
revenue lost with the elimination of the Single Business Tax.
“We are facing the most severe budget crisis in recent history, and it’s important that all voices be heard,”
Jacobs said. “We provided a panel of experts to explain the effects of cuts on their areas and we fielded
several dozen questions from engaged and concerned citizens. It’s an important topic to all.”