With apologies to President Ronald Reagan, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder is once again playing fast and loose with budget figures to support his personal agenda.
I came across an internal House Fiscal Agency email fact-checking some of the Governor's testimony regarding educational funding for the coming year. When you read this and match it to his statement yesterday before the House Appropriations Committee, you have to wonder who's telling the truth?
While the Governor suggested during his presentation that ongoing expenditures are going up approx. $200 per pupil or 2.0%, he is comparing FY 13 proposed costs to the existing FY 12 enacted budget, despite the FY 12 budget supplemental request that would increase the FY 12 budget by $70 million for mandatory cost adjustments (emphasis added) (plus $12.5 million for the kindergarten assessments/quality rating system). Secondly, he is referring to an increase in ongoing appropriations that simply results from a shift of funding currently characterized as one-time to on-going funding (emphasis added). This does not constitute an actual increase either in the total budget nor in the overall funding districts will receive. When the FY 12 baseline cost adjustments are taken into consideration, and when you look at total state appropriations, there is actually a decrease in total state funding for School Aid of $84 million proposed for FY 13 (emphasis added). Even if you adjust FY 12 totals by removing the $133 million that is appropriated to the MPSERS [retirement system] reserve fund in FY 12, the total increase in state spending in FY 13 would only be $49 million. This would equate to an increase of $32 per pupil, not $200.
My bet on who is being truthful goes to the House Fiscal Agency, the non-partisan experts who are paid to analyze the numbers and tell us the real version of the Governor's fictional story.
In the end, though, all bets are off because it's the kids who are ultimately hurt by the cuts.