Better off? It’s time for a change in Lansing

Here is the question Michiganders need to be asking themselves. Are you better off now then you were eight years ago?

At a recent forum, a candidate said “people are struggling.”

The evening then became a conversation about people’s frustrations and worries.

A woman described the teacher shortage in Michigan. Public education is suffering, and with it, our children.

Second, the crowd decided that “Pure” Michigan is in jeopardy. Despite all the debate and what science tells us, Line 5 is still open. The water is still compromised around military bases and in Flint .

Do our kids have a future in NE Michigan? Will we join the modern world and have universal broadband coverage? Will healthcare still be locally available and affordable?

And, why doesn’t anyone hear us?

Remember how we got here. In 2010, the Republicans won Michigan. Unfettered, they changed our tax structure. Corporations got a huge tax break with the promise of great jobs to come. Corporations collectively now contribute 73% less dollars to Michigan’s needs.

To pay for this, the tax burden was shifted to the middle class. Also, funding cuts were made to education and to local governments, who provide police and fire protection and repair our roads.

These numbers show the results of these policies best.

We are now 49th in spending for our public schools. Our achievement scores have plummeted.

Our college students now pay the 6th highest tuition in the nation. Sixty-four percent of our college-educated youth have college debt.

Our median household income is $5125 below the national average and our child poverty rate is 16th highest. Life expectancy has dropped and child mortality has risen.

And we have the 3rd most lead pipes in the nation.

It’s time for a change in Lansing.

TOM VENNEY,

Greenbush