Schools call on lawmakers to work together for state budget

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 20:39:10-04

ROCHESTER , Mich. (WXYZ) — It is almost time for most children to start getting ready for back to school. Yet, their schools have no idea exactly how much funding they will have. The reason? State lawmakers and the governor don’t yet have a state budget.

There is simply no sign of anything close to a deal, because no one can agree on how to address the problem of our state’s crumbling roads.

The budget fight is dragging on so long schools say it has impacted their programs.

The Rochester Community Schools Board passed a resolution calling on state lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, to work together to come to an agreement on the budget. They say not having a state budget in place hurts children.

“To make a productive investment in our children the school district needs to be stable. It needs not to be in a volatile market,” said Rochester Superintendent, Dr. Bob Shaner.

Shaner says under the law schools have to set their budget by July first, even though they have no idea yet this year what the state budget is. In the past the district has had to borrow money to make payroll when this happens. This year they are planning conservatively. If they knew there would be more funding, they would have invested more for example in their literacy program.

“Once the state budget is adopted, it is going to make it hard for us to adjust,” said Dr. Shaner.

So why is there no budget? It is a disagreement with no solution in sight. Democrats want taxes to fund the roads.

Representative Yousef Rahbi (D-Ann Arbor) has introduced bills that would increase the state’s corporate tax and the tax on trucks to raise money for the roads.

“We can’t cut holes in the state budget and expect to fix potholes in the road. We need to add revenue in the state,” said Rep. Rabhi.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan) has proposed an alternative plan to raise funding for the roads with a 45 cent gas tax.

Republican Senator Peter Lucido (R-Macomb County) on the other hand says he believes the state gives too much funding to communities outside Southeast Michigan. He says change that. Don’t raise taxes.

“Southeast Michigan has almost 3.5 million vehicles. I didn’t stutter. There is only 7.2 million in the entire state. Use the money where it is registered,” said Sen. Lucido.