Peterson on reversing lame duck cuts to schools
Today, the House Appropriations Committee passed House Bill 4125, which is titled Restore School Aid Fund Earmark. This bill would increase the percentage of income tax revenue dedicated to the School Aid Fund (SAF) beginning in fiscal year 2020 by restoring cuts made at the end of last year.
During the 2018 lame duck session, the Legislature passed Public Act 588 along partisan lines. This act redirected tax revenues dedicated to the SAF to the General Fund (GF). With the increase of GF revenue the state increased road funding and earmarked GF revenue to the newly established Renew Michigan Fund.
Because of the recent Supreme Court decision in Wayfair v. South Dakota, which allowed states to enforce the collection of sales tax from online retailers, state fiscal analysts expect a jump in sales tax revenue for the fiscal year 2020. HB 4125 would take advantage of the expected revenue increase, allowing the previous reduction to the SAF to be restored. Children and teachers will be able to supplied with more adequate funding from the state, while keeping the increase for the road funding earmark and continuing to fund the Renew Michigan earmark which provides funding for environmental cleanup, waste management and recycling planning all administered by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE); formerly known as the DEQ.
Real funding of public education in Michigan has been on the decline for several years. Education is a fundamental pillar of a thriving community and must be treated as so. That is why I did not agree with the decision to reduce funding to community school systems mandated in PA 588 of 2018. HB 4125 is a good start toward increasing school funding to adequate levels. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to prioritize education funding during ongoing and future budget negotiations.