Tax the rich to pay for roads, education

Sep 11, 2019 by

Ron Bieber –

Last month, I wrote to dispel the absurd claim being made by some lawmakers that Michigan does not have the workforce needed to fix the roads if they did raise the needed revenue. I ended that column with a question: “Michigan skilled construction workers are ready to work. Are lawmakers ready to lead?” In the month that has passed, the answer to that question appears to be “no.”

We are now rapidly approaching the end-of-the-month deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget and have it signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. How close lawmakers have allowed themselves to come to the deadline seems even more absurd when you consider they recessed for nearly the entire summer.

While the Republican leadership has tried to justify this summer recess by saying they have been working on the budget while their members were on break, the simple fact remains that they cannot strike a deal without the consensus of their caucuses. And they cannot reach consensus when their members are not in town.

To make matters worse, some aspects of the budget are already overdue. The school year has started. Schedules have been set. Classrooms have been assigned. But the Legislature has not passed an education budget yet.

While schools do not know what their budgets will ultimately be, they do not have the option of recessing the start of school until the legislature gets their act together.

Adding to the uncertainty, many of the alternative road funding “solutions” floated by Republican leadership could jeopardize revenue for schools or gamble away retirement plans for educators.

Source: Opinion: Tax the rich to pay for roads, education

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