Angry residents confronted Republican state Sen. Tom Casperson at a town hall last week over his support for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) proposed budget, which — like those of many other GOP governors — would slash funding for education while cutting corporate taxes. Snyder’s budget would cut spending on education by $471 per student and reduce teachers’ pay and benefits. Yet while students and teachers are asked to sacrifice, Snyder’s budget would give huge tax breaks to businesses in the form of a flat 6 percent corporate tax rate.
At Casperson’s town hall in Marquette, Ishpeming school board member Mike Flynn joined numerous other constituents in speaking out against the cuts. Flynn said his district is already struggling to make ends meet, having shut down its middle school, laid off teachers and staff, and privatized its bus and custodial services. Flynn asked those in attendance to stand if the oppose education cuts. “Nearly everyone in the room jumped to their feet while cheering and clapping,” the Maquette Mining Journal reported.
Casperson responded that he was trying to minimize the impact on education, but that cuts are necessary. “What about a higher business tax?” one constituent shouted, met with cries of “yes!” from other attendees and a chorus of applause. Watch a video of the event shot by the Mining Journal and edited by ThinkProgress for length (full video here):
Several other attendees spoke passionately against Snyder’s budget, with one constitutes receiving applause for speaking out against cuts to services for “the most vulnerable” while the top “one percent” are given tax breaks. “This trickle down theory, we’ve tried it before — it doesn’t work,” she said. Meghan McLeod, a special education teacher, said that Snyder’s cuts may force her to move back in with her parents on her 25th birthday.
Meanwhile, as TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports, Michigan state Sen. Bruce Caswell (R) has suggested allowing children who receive public assistance to spend their meager $80 per year only at thrift stores, even though Caswell acknowledged his plan wouldn’t save the state “a dime.”
As one man at the Casperson town hall said, “I don’t recall you or most of the other people who are Republicans running on anything like what is being foisted upon our state right now.” His comment was met with boisterous applause.