Republican State Senator Jack Brandenburg is proposing a cut in the state sales tax. (http://www.eclectablog.com/2012/01/michigan-republican-has-solution-to.html)
That may sound like a grand idea to those hoping to save a bit on their next major purchase or on tomorrow’s trip to the mall. However, please remember that sales tax is a major source of funding for public schools and helps generate dollars that support local government.
When the shift in funding from property tax to sales tax occurred, the economy was healthy and revenues generated were capable of sustaining communities and schools. As we all know, the economy in Michigan is one of the worst in the country resulting in a huge decrease in local budgets. Public schools and local governments cannot afford any more hits.
In the past year our legislators slashed the funding for education in favor of corporations, and now they want to further decimate this major source of current revenue. Increasing class sizes, cutting programs, and using outdated materials is not the way to provide quality education for our future generations. If we want to educate only the privileged few, then keep it up, Lansing. But if our goal is to provide the best possible education to every student, then public schools need funding.
It’s not just about public schools. I encourage you to have a chat with members of your local government. Our municipalities are suffering, too. Local government officials work tirelessly to make ends meet to provide citizens with police and fire protection, public works and utilities, street maintenance, public libraries, and much more. Cuts in revenue sharing are already a reality and cutting the sales tax is sure to strain local budgets to the breaking point.
Talk of a budget surplus is a joke if those in Lansing see it as simply a way to pass along more to corporations, leaving our local communities and schools to wither away. But hey, those emergency finance managers are out there waiting in the wings to swoop in and rescue us all from government-by-elected-representation!
– Sally Kruger
Gorham Street, Morenci