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"Reinvest Express" Tour Rolls through MI

PHOTO: More than 200 people attended the ReInvest Express tour stop in Grand Rapids, where faith and civic leaders called on Gov. Snyder to put the needs of Michigan families and cities first. Photo courtesy Harriet Tubman Center.
PHOTO: More than 200 people attended the ReInvest Express tour stop in Grand Rapids, where faith and civic leaders called on Gov. Snyder to put the needs of Michigan families and cities first. Photo courtesy Harriet Tubman Center.
November 13, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - A series of rallies across the state culminates today in Lansing, where faith-based leaders, concerned citizens and some elected officials are calling on Gov. Rick Snyder to reinvest in what they say is the state's most valuable asset - its people.

Ira Edwards is pastor of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church in Flint, one of the Michigan cities hardest hit by the recession. He joined the "ReInvest Express" tour, he said, because he believes cuts to the state's business taxes have come at the expense of education, social services and public safety.

"Four of the top 10 cities for worst places to live, most dangerous, are in Michigan," he said, "and eight of the top 100 are on that list - and so, it's a travesty."

Edwards said he doesn't need to look further than his own hometown of Flint to see the impact of the current budget. Flint has lost dozens of police officers because of budget cuts, and currently tops the list of most dangerous cities in the nation. Edwards says he has a few messages he'd like the governor to hear.

"We understand he has a hard job, number one," Edwards said. "Number two is that we don't think that his funding is making our cities better."

According to the Snyder administration, the business tax cuts were necessary to keep employers from leaving the state and to attract new ones. Snyder is expected to release his proposed budget for 2014 early next year, with negotiations taking place through the spring and summer. The state's new fiscal year began in October.

The six-city bus tour already has rolled through Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, metro Detroit and Flint. The final rally is to take place at 1 p.m. on the Capitol steps in Lansing. More tour information is online at tubmanorganizing.org/reinvest.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI