The Daily’s editorial Monday unfairly blamed Gov. Jennifer Granholm for the legislature’s decision to cut the Michigan Promise Scholarship (No more broken promises, 11/23/2009). The editorial failed to recognize that it was the legislature — not the governor — that deliberately left funding for the Michigan Promise out of the budget. When this budget reached her desk, the governor had two choices: Veto it and force a government shutdown, or sign it and hope to fund the Michigan Promise Scholarship with a supplemental appropriations bill. She chose the latter because a government shutdown would have been catastrophic in a state suffering from the ongoing recession.
The blame for this cut lies mostly with the Republicans in the state Senate. Under Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R–Rochester), Senate Republicans have refused to create new revenue sources to compensate for revenue decreases as a result of the economic downturn. Since Michigan’s constitution requires a balanced budget, the legislature must make cuts to eliminate budget shortfalls if it is unwilling to raise revenue to close these budget gaps. One of the cuts that the Senate Republicans chose to make was the Michigan Promise Scholarship. Unfortunately, House Speaker Andy Dillon (D–Redford Twp.) was complacent when faced with the decision.
Contrary to the Daily’s editorial, Granholm’s actions with regard to higher education match her rhetoric. She continues her campaign to restore the Promise Scholarship. On Monday, for example, she traveled to Eastern Michigan University to encourage students to pressure their representatives to prioritize education funding. As the leader of the executive branch, she does not have the power of the purse and is unable to restore the scholarship by herself. She needs students to help her efforts by pressuring legislators to keep their promise.
I encourage you to contact your legislators over the next few weeks and let them know how you feel about their broken promises and reckless cuts. I am confident that by raising our collective voice, we can convince the legislature to keep its promise to us.
Chair of the University’s chapter of the College Democrats