Statement from state Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) on his vote on budget bills considered in the state House of Representatives:
LANSING — Yesterday, state rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) voted against the Michigan House of Representatives’ omnibus budget for fiscal year 2018-19 and school omnibus budget for fiscal year 2018-19. In response, Rep. Sowerby issued the following statement on his no vote on both bills:
“These budgets fail the people of Michigan by not investing in critical areas and funding programs that residents and local governments rely on. We’ve again failed to properly fund our infrastructure, so people will still be paying for blown tires and broken axles. House Democrats tried to increase infrastructure funding, but our amendment was voted down by the majority party. We’ve again failed to adequately fund revenue sharing. Local municipalities depend on revenue sharing to provide the services and programs residents depend need. We again failed our vulnerable citizens who need mental health services, especially in Macomb County. Macomb has seen millions in mental health care funding cuts, and this budget does not reverse those cuts. Until we properly fund mental health care, we are going to see more people ending up in jail instead of in a program that could help them.
“This budget also fails our students. There are multiple studies sitting on the governor’s desk that show we are still underfunding our schools by well over $1,000 per student. While this budget does increase per-pupil funding, it is woefully short of closing that gap. Instead, this budget funds cyber schools the same as traditional brick and mortar schools, even though cyber schools have much lower overhead costs. Furthermore, this budget sends public tax dollars to fund non-public schools, despite it being constitutionally prohibited in Michigan. These budget bills fail our communities, our residents and our students and that is why I voted no.”