COLUMN: Snyder's budget cuts are troubling
Governor Snyder cut $1 billion from education during his first year in office.
That is $1 billion taken away from the future generation, the generation that has to take care of us when we are old. Does that scare anyone else?
However, I have noticed an interesting trend in Michigan politics as a result of those budget cuts.
College students are starting to run for office in higher numbers, and I can completely understand why. Universities and education in general are suffering under the Snyder administration. For example, Central Michigan University has lost 23.3 percent of its state funding since last year thanks to Governor Snyder. Similar cuts are seen state-wide.
Student Government President at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and former U.S. Marine, David Knezek, is running for the state House of Representatives seat from the eleventh district. Knezek is up against fellow student and Democrat Cody Bailey from Albion College. Public education, along with the economy, is a major issue. Seeing the 50-percent funding cut to higher education during the past 10 years, their stances are completely understandable and long overdue.
Another candidate, one much closer to Central Michigan University and Mid-Michigan, is Adam Lawrence. He will be graduating from CMU in May with a double major in History and Political Science: International Relations. The Coleman resident is running against incumbent Kevin Cotter for the 99th district Michigan House of Representatives seat. Lawrence said Michigan cannot afford to cut funding to education, and he fully supports the Michigan Senate Democrats’ Michigan 2020 plan to make college affordable and wants to help the plan into fruition.
The Michigan 2020 plan gives state high school graduates education grants by term limiting corporate tax credits. The proposal costs an estimated $1.8 billion yet does not cost the state a single penny. Education grants for Michigan high school students would value approximately $9,500 each year. Grants such as these are vital to the average student, who most of the time would be unable to attend college because of lack of funds.
Adam Lawrence believes the teachers who inspired him and have made him and many other students successful should not be the target of massive budget cuts. Also, it is insulting to both public workers and taxpayers to make such extreme cuts during a recession just to turn around and put our state’s surplus into a “Rainy Day Fund.” Mr. Lawrence and I can both agree that recent GOP focus on social issues is not the way to pull this state out of an economic recession.
This new trend we are seeing, of college students running for office, has the potential to turn around the state’s current policy of slashing funding to education. Each of these candidates will represent the interests of Michiganders very well, including issues other than education. Sometimes we just need a new perspective in Lansing, and these candidates can do that for us.
Alex Middlewood is a member of the College Democrats. This column does not represent the views of the organization.