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Report: Michigan Budget Won't Help Enough Kids, Families


Monday, September 28, 2015   

LANSING, Mich. – A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy is critical of the new state budget when it comes to helping break the poverty cycle that still plagues the state.

The report acknowledges some positive elements, including an expansion of dental care for low-income children, but it says the budget still under funds programs that help address deep racial and ethic disparities when it comes to education, health and poverty.

Gilda Jacobs, the league’s CEO, says poverty remains a problem, years after the Great Recession.

"Overall child poverty really just dropped slightly in Michigan, and then you look at half of all African-American kids and a third of Hispanic kids in our state live in poverty, that is unacceptable," she states.

While the new budget, which takes effect this Thursday, does include a small increase for K-12 education, the league analysis finds it lacking in initiatives that can help address the racial and ethnic disparities evidenced by third grade reading proficiency and the high school dropout rate.

Jacobs says providing equal access to educational opportunities is something that every Michigander should be concerned about.

"If we want to create a workforce that is going to be taking care of all of us as we get older, and be tax-paying members of society, we need to make sure that everybody in Michigan has the opportunity to do well in school," she stresses.

The report also finds the budget lacking in what Jacobs calls two-generation strategies that help parents work and support their children.

Specifically, she points to the impact of a 70 percent cut in the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, a cut that directly affects low-income working families.

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