LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the general omnibus budget bill signed by Governor Rick Snyder today. The League has also put together a full report analyzing the pros and cons of the 2017 budget, The 2017 State Budget Fails to Protect All Children and Families and Perpetuates Economic Disparities. The budget expands Healthy Kids Dental to all eligible kids in Kent, Oakland and Wayne counties, but failed to secure funding to fix the Heat and Eat policy that reduced federal support for many Michigan residents. By investing approximately $3 million in state funds, Michigan would have been able to draw down $140 million in federal dollars through Heat and Eat and restore approximately $76 per month in food assistance for 150,000 low-income households. The statement may be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“The 2017 budget contains a mixed bag, and our reviews are equally mixed. After years of fighting for dental coverage for all kids in need in all parts of the state, we are extremely happy that the budget signed today includes long-awaited funding to expand dental coverage to around 131,000 low-income kids in Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties. We have inched closer and closer to achieving this each year, and it’s heartening for us and the people we are fighting for to see that patience and persistence can pay off.
“Other budget areas continued to miss the mark, yet again overlooking the Michiganians with the greatest needs. At a time when revenues are tight, we were optimistic that all opportunities to secure federal match dollars would be pursued, especially with such a minimal state investment needed. However, the inaction to resolve Michigan’s Heat and Eat issue cost the state around $140 million in federal funding and cost 150,000 households in Michigan, including seniors and people with disabilities, even more—the very food on their tables. And while this budget included a moderate increase to Michigan’s child care subsidy, it included no corresponding state investment, causing us to also lose millions in federal child care dollars. Michigan’s recovery is still leaving too many people behind, and unfortunately, the 2017 budget did as well. We are hopeful that legislators will reconsider these missed opportunities and act quickly to remedy them through supplemental funding.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.