2011-05-12 / Letters to the Editor

Budget early step toward stability

[Last] week the House passed out its versions of the state government operations and education budgets. I voted in support of both, but I’m not going to sugar-coat it - I didn’t enjoy it and it was quite difficult.

I will say that residents sent me off to Lansing with the reminder that they are expecting me to make the hard decisions and take the difficult votes--whatever it took to get our state back on track and I do not take that responsibility lightly.

Although the cuts are deep, approximately $1.7 billion, the House budget bill is structurally sound and balanced after years of relying on federal bailouts and accounting shuffling. Expenses are in line with the revenue coming in to fund state operations, and this budget plan does not rely on adding more debt to get us through to the next budget cycle, just so we can put off the uncomfortable task of making tough decisions for another year.

“Despite the major cuts we had to make across the board in the government operations budget, the House limited cuts to the K-12 budget to 3.5 percent per pupil, down from the 3.9 percent the governor has proposed. In addition, I supported an amendment that could help alleviate the loss of funding to smaller, rural districts that are experiencing loss of funding tied to declining enrollment.

It’s not an ideal budget or ideal solution, but Michigan is not in an ideal situation right now. This is an early step toward stability and responsibility for our state. I will continue to search and work for improvements and solutions as the process continues.

State Rep. Bruce Rendon

Lake City

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