Senators Johnson, Hood, Whitmer, Young, Gregory, Smith and Hunter, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 954.
Senator Johnson moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Johnson’s statement, in which Senators Hood, Whitmer, Young, Gregory, Smith and Hunter concurred, is as follows:
I rise today to voice my reasoning for voting “no” on this flawed budget that fails to address several critical issues facing our state. We have heard a lot from the Senator from the 13th District that we do not have the money. We just don’t have the money for many of my amendments. I would suggest the money isn’t there because you chose to prioritize corporate tax breaks over the things we are discussing here that would actually move Michigan and her residents forward.
When Governor Snyder was first elected, he proposed that the Legislature pass a two-year budget to help provide a more stable long-term vision for the state. Many of us agreed that that would not be the worst thing in life. Seeing the budgets that are being proposed this year, it is quite clear why you chose to ignore the Governor’s request.
The General Government budget provides a perfect example. Last year, we got rid of targeted tax credits and Brownfield redevelopment credits in order to create Governor Snyder’s economic gardening program. This year, we’re cutting the funding for community redevelopment and economic gardening. It’s a bit oxymoronic. I can see where in a two-year budget you would look a bit foolish for simultaneously creating a program and defunding it in the same vote.
This cut in funds will hamper our state’s efforts to retain businesses and help them grow. Cutting this program will not help us in achieving our goal of job creation; something we all believe is a priority for Michigan. At least you’re staying consistent in your resolve to strong-arm our financially-stressed communities by making them jump through hoops first before they can receive the funds necessary to provide even the most basic of services to our citizens.
If we were keeping metrics from last year’s revenue sharing cuts, we would see that they didn’t grow the economy, but they created hardships for our cites, triggered financial reviews, and led to emergency manager takeovers with police and firefighters being laid off along the way. Unfortunately, this budget does not present the opportunity to correct those errors, Mr. President, but instead seeks to do further harm to our cities and counties, deepening the negative impact on our beloved citizens.
Seeing the disaster that budget created over the past year and the failure for those wrongs to be addressed here in this chamber, I cannot, in good conscience, vote for this budget. I would ask my colleagues to review what has been stated here, has been done here, and has been proposed and denied. Mr. President, there are only two relationships in this life—one is reciprocal and the other is exploitative. I believe if you take a poll of Michigan residents, they would tell you that they believe they have been exploited at every point in this budget process.