Since the national elections last fall, public attention has rightly been focused on the new administration in Washington. Without a doubt, what happens in our nation’s capital matters to Michigan—in dollar terms alone. Federal dollars account for $4 of every $10 spent by the state, and the reliance on federal funds exceeds 70% in the departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
But right here in Lansing, state legislators are now carving up the state’s budget pie for 2018, and the stakes—as always—are high for communities, schools, families and children. As you search for ways to express your concerns about the direction this country and state are heading, don’t overlook the importance of engaging with your legislators on priorities for the state budget.
The governor has recommended some important investments in healthcare, child care and education in his proposed budget—investments that are sorely needed to make Michigan a leading state and spur economic growth after years of inadequate support for state services and infrastructure. Many of the governor’s proposals are priorities of the League, including:
- Continued funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan;
- An expansion of access to high-quality child care;
- Increased funding for high-poverty schools; and
- A boost in the annual school clothing allowance for families living in deep poverty.
Both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives are meeting in subcommittees to write their own versions of the state budget, and this is your chance to get engaged. The League has developed some tools to help you do that, including a summary of the governor’s proposed budget for 2018 and tips for influencing the state budget. The League monitors the budget closely and will continue to provide regular updates on issues of concern to residents with low and moderate incomes. You can visit our budget page on our website, sign up for our email updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on our budget and policy efforts.
If you haven’t contacted your state legislators about the Michigan budget yet, what’s holding you back? While the state budget process may seem complex, like your own family’s budget, it boils down to using the resources you have to keep your family healthy and safe, and achieve your priorities for the future. You are an expert in describing what your community, your family and your children need. Tell your story and exercise your power. We need you!
— Pat Sorenson