Stabenow: President's Budget Reflects the Wrong Priorities
Cuts to manufacturing, education, put more burden on working families
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today said that the fiscal year 2007 budget released by President Bush reflects the wrong priorities for Michigan families. The proposed budget includes cuts to vital manufacturing, education, and law enforcement programs while increasing health care costs for veterans.
"The national budget is more than just numbers on a page - the budget is a true reflection of our nation's values and priorities," Stabenow said. "Unfortunately, President Bush has again presented Congress with a budget full of misplaced priorities, driving up our national debt while increasing the burden on working families."
"Michigan lost 111,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year," said Stabenow. "We need a budget that will help us create jobs and boost domestic manufacturing in Michigan and across America. This budget would take us in the wrong direction."
Stabenow highlighted the following items in the Administration's proposed budget as causes for concern in Michigan:
Instead of investing in manufacturing, the President's budget includes a 60 percent cut to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP), a cost-effective public-private partnership that creates jobs and increases tax revenue. The proposed budget would also completely eliminate Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grants. In Michigan alone, these two programs have resulted in more than $202 million in new technology grants, $80 million in increased sales and $32 million in cost reductions.
The proposed budget leaves behind nearly 125,000 Michigan elementary and secondary school students by once again refusing to fully fund Title I of No Child Left Behind. This year, Michigan school districts will receive $410 million less than was promised when the bipartisan education reform bill was passed five years ago.
President Bush's budget leaves more than 167,000 Michigan college students out in the cold by freezing the maximum Pell grant at $4,050 for the fourth year in a row, despite rising tuition costs. In 1975, the Pell grant covered 80 percent of the cost of a four-year public college education -- today, the Pell grant covers about 40 percent of that cost.
The budget also eliminates the Perkins student loan program, cutting $664 million in low-interest loans that help many families afford the cost of college.
National Guard and Reserves:
More than 3,100 Michigan National Guard and Reservists are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. To meet the growing demands placed on our citizen-soldiers in this time of war, Congress last year authorized increasing National Guard and Reserve troop levels to 555,000. The President's budget would cut that number by 22,000 soldiers.
Veterans Health Care:
For the fourth year in a row, the Administration proposes to increase health care costs for as many as 39,000 Michigan veterans. Veterans with incomes of $26,902 or more could be subject to a $250 enrollment fee for health care services. Veterans' monthly copayments for prescription drugs will more than double under the President's proposal - rising from $7 to $15.
The President's budget proposes a 78 percent cut for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. In the last 12 years, more than $222 million in COPS grants have been awarded to 514 state and local law enforcement agencies in Michigan. COPS grants have funded more than 3,300 additional police officers and sheriff's deputies in communities across the state. COPS grants also aid local law enforcement with school resource officers and crime-fighting technologies.