Cuts are coming, get involved

Many of you know what it’s like to have to scrape by when your income is slashed.

Those workers who lost their job in the coronavirus pandemic and had to wait weeks for our overburdened unemployment system to get them benefits know what it’s like. So do those business owners who had to close their doors and hope they received some of the federal stimulus money to keep them going.

What do you cut? How deep into your savings do you dig? What luxuries, or even necessities, can you live without?

Those are the choices our local governments and school boards will likely have to make in the coming months.

With Michigan’s economy battered by mandated business closures and stay-home orders, state government is taking in less tax revenue at the same time it’s spending big in the pandemic fight.

One state senator said schools might see a 25% cut in per-pupil funding (though other estimates show it won’t be nearly as bad). Local governments have been told to prepare for a 40% or 50% cut in state revenue sharing, on top of any lost local property taxes from shuttered businesses.

As school boards, city councils, county commissioners, and township trustees debate the ways they’ll make up for those lost dollars, we urge all readers to get involved.

Government leaders won’t be able to make everyone happy, but they should at least know the things that are important to you as they lay out their priorities.

So show up to meetings (on Zoom, for the time being). Send an email. Write a letter. Be part of the conversation.



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