Senators Johnson, Whitmer, Hunter, Bieda, Anderson, Hood and Gregory, under their constitutional right of protest
(Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 177.
Senator Johnson moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for voting
The motion prevailed.
Senator Johnson’s statement, in which Senators Whitmer, Hunter, Bieda, Anderson, Hood and Gregory concurred, is
I rise today to express my strong opposition to the General Government budget before us. The troubling aspects of this
budget are almost too many to list. This budget does not look to me like shared sacrifice. It looks like heavy-handed,
draconian cuts to everything that makes our communities good places to live. This budget violates a sacred trust with the
voters by requiring the privatization of the State Lottery, a program that provides a substantial amount of money to the
state’s School Aid Fund. And, Mr. President, while I’d argue that it provides a substantial amount of money that is
dedicated to our schools, we all know this budget and the plan already violates that trust by raiding the School Aid Fund
for other purposes.
I cannot support cutting a third of state revenue sharing to our cities, villages, and townships, which will result in devastating cuts to police and fire protection services, closing down libraries and parks, and paring back EMS services as well.
Sacrificing our quality of life makes Michigan a less attractive place to do business. While the tax break we provide may
be nice, who would open a business in a city that has no one to answer calls to 9-1-1? While there is some merit to consolidation of services, this approach does not work for all communities, and this budget fails to fully incentivize these efforts.
Michigan’s growing film industry has already begun to grow timid by proposals to cap the film credit, but the $10 million
cap in this budget will surely scare away anyone who was still interested in filming here and creating jobs. This budget
is so flawed it does not even support full funding for the Governor’s attraction of business and economic gardening plan.
If job No. 1 is jobs, then we need to fully fund the MEDC.
This budget is another example of cutting our feet from underneath us as we work to rebuild this state. We all know that
times are tough, and we are all prepared to chip in if it truly means shared sacrifice. But we are not willing to raise taxes
on our working families, slash education, reduce our quality of life, and diminish public safety to pay for a $2 billion tax
cut for businesses.
I am going to be voting “no” on this budget, Mr. President, and I urge my colleagues who are truly concerned about
job creation and protecting citizens to do exactly the same.