Detroit Senators, Senate Democrats Unveil Major Investment Plan in Michigan's Education, Economy
LANSING - Detroit Senators and the Michigan Senate Democrats unveiled the Michigan 2020 Plan today, a proposal that marks a significant investment in Michigan’s future by positioning our state as a leader in higher education and workforce development. Under the plan, Michigan high school graduates would be eligible to have tuition and associated costs paid for at one of Michigan’s community colleges or universities, creating a pact with our K-12 students that invests in their future as well as the future of our state by developing the highest educated workforce in the nation.
“Reinventing Michigan and rebuilding our economy requires bold and innovative solutions,” said Senate Democratic Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter. “Getting a higher education without accumulating a lifetime of debt is the new American dream, and this proposal will make that possible. Our Michigan 2020 Plan will ensure that every student in Michigan will have equal access to a college degree and a successful future regardless of their present economic situation, helping break the cycle of poverty in Detroit and around the state.”
“Michigan families are paying more to send their children to college than parents in almost every other state. Our college students are graduating with crushing amounts of debt,” said Senator Bert Johnson. “We have an opportunity to provide every student with the means to get a college education without raising taxes on citizens. We owe it to the future of our state to act on it.”
Students would be eligible for an annual grant for their higher education costs based upon the length of time they spent in Michigan’s K-12 system. Those who spent their entire K-12 career in Michigan schools would be eligible for the full award, equating to the median tuition level (currently $9,575/year) of all of Michigan’s public universities. Those who attended school outside of Michigan for a period of time during their K-12 years would be eligible for a percentage of that full amount.
“The only way in which Michigan is going to have economic elevation is if all of its citizens have opportunity and access to a quality education,” said Senator Coleman A. Young II. “I believe the passport to prosperity proposal is the best way to achieve educational and economic excellence for the next generation.”
The program would be funded entirely by eliminating the ineffective tax loopholes that are carved out by special interest lobbyists, as well as cutting costs within the thousands of contracts that the state currently administers. Michigan currently grants $34 billion in tax credits with little transparency or accountability that ensures they are effective in growing our economy or job market. Under the Michigan 2020 Plan, $3.5 billion in tax credits and loopholes would be eliminated, approximately a 10% reduction.
“College is expensive and the costs continue to rise. We give away billions of dollars through tax loopholes that aren’t doing anything to help create jobs,” said Senator Virgil Smith. “By closing even a fraction of these loopholes we can help every student who wants to go to college pay for it. This program will benefit both students who are eager to learn and our state as a whole.”
“Every Michigan child deserves access to a higher education,” said Senator Morris Hood III. “This plan recognizes that for our state to be successful going forward, we must open the door to the opportunities that a college degree provides. Hope breeds eternal life and this plan gives hope to students who normally would not have the chance to obtain a higher education. Truly reinventing our state means sending a bold message to the rest of the world that we will leave no child behind in our transformation to a 21st Century economic leader.”
Full details of the Michigan 2020 Plan are available online at www.michigan2020.com.