Michigan Democrats are fighting back against Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and his cynical agenda of privatizing the state’s social services to line the pockets of his supporters. Part of that push back includes a new plan that puts the state’s students ahead of corporations and the wealthy.
Under their Michigan 2020 plan, Michigan’s high school graduates would be eligible for free tuition at one of Michigan’s community colleges or universities. Graduates who spent their entire K-12 years in Michigan schools would be eligible for the full award, which equates to the mediate tuition level of all public universities while those who attended school for awhile outside the state would get a percentage of that amount.
Median tuition at these institutions is around $9,575 per year. Michigan Democrats propose to fund this program in its entirety by eliminating $3.5 billion in tax credits and loopholes and instead giving that money to students.
Michigan currently pays out roughly $34 billion in tax credits a year, making college tuition downright affordable for the state in comparison. Michigan Democrats point out that the elimination of $3.5 billion in tax loopholes is only a 10 percent reduction in the state tax credits and that the program costs almost exactly as much as the $1.7 billion tax cut Gov. Snyder implemented for corporations once he took office.
The proposal is a big deal for Michigan residents. Despite the assault on the public sector, the state has some of the nation’s best public universities. And study after study reinforce that for states to be competitive they need a well-educated and diversified worker pool–something the Democrats proposal not only understands but promotes. This represents what a real public investment looks like, which of course means the people of Michigan can expect Republicans to vigorously oppose it all in the name of “limited government” and crony capitalism.
Photo from snre via flickr.