As published by the Macomb Daily on Nov. 17, 2019.
I was fortunate to have served two terms in the state House of Representatives and am happy and proud to have again gained the trust of Macomb County residents to serve as their state senator.
Throughout my time in Lansing, despite the partisanship and differences of opinion on various matters of policy, when it has come to the state budget, we’ve always worked together to get it done.
Never was there a concern about funding for autism services, foster programs, students’ education, police, or veterans’ services. Literally, in each of the budgets I have voted for and were signed, every single one increased funding for these priorities year after year, and they were all enacted months ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.
All of that changed this year, and the only difference in the equation is a petulant governor hellbent on a highest-in-the-nation, 45-cents-a-gallon gas tax that nobody wants. Hell, not even her own Democrat party wants it — nobody ever introduced a bill!
Instead of rolling up her sleeves with the Legislature and doing the hard work of ironing out budget differences and crafting a more sensible long-term plan to fix our roads, the governor made an all-or-nothing bet on a gas tax. But the funny thing about government is that it plays with other people’s money — your money — and so the only ones who are losing on her bet are you, the people of Michigan.
Six weeks after the governor’s spiteful vetoes and rare administrative budget transfers, the pain is being felt. Our state’s schools are missing scheduled payments and charter schools are facing closure. College students are being denied scholarships. Foster care programs are preparing to shut down. Sheriff departments are planning layoffs. Even the National Guard didn’t get money for new uniforms.
Now, when the reality of her reckless, failed political gamesmanship is becoming clear, the governor has come crawling back to ask the Legislature to undo her vetoes with a budget supplemental.
Not so fast, my friend. Trust is fleeting, and what little trust that existed between the governor and lawmakers, she broke.
First, the governor has every ability, and every reason, to reverse her illogical budget transfers right now. Not only should she reverse them right away, but she should make it clear to everyone that she won’t do that again. We’re happy to send her a bill to sign to make sure.
When the governor makes that commitment, I will be ready to work on undoing her veto mistakes with a budget fix. My colleagues and I already sent her a bipartisan, balanced budget that funded all of these important priorities in the first place, and we can do it again.
I think what is lost on the governor is that, in America, we serve no monarch. She is not a queen. The people of this great state resist her gas tax, but instead of respecting that and adapting her plan to the people she works for, she punished them instead. The people whom the governor’s actions harmed are not pieces on a game board. They have families, with their own budgets, bills and mortgages to worry about.
Let’s not forget who we work for and why we are here. Let’s come together as colleagues to fix this budget blunder, put it behind us, and get back on the path of moving Michigan forward.