This just in from our friends at Think Progress:
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) spent his first year in office trading in the welfare of thousands of vulnerable Michiganders in order to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Hoping to refocus priorities in 2012, the state’s Senate Democrats have released a new plan that puts Michigan students ahead of wealthy corporations.
Under the Michigan 2020 Plan, Michigan’s high school graduates will be eligible for free tuition at one of Michigan’s community colleges or universities, where the median tuition level is currently around $9,575 per year. The program will be funded entirely by eliminating $3.5 billion in tax credits and loopholes and putting that money towards students:
“Study after study after study has emphasized the importance of a highly educated workforce in the economic vitality of any state in the 21st century,” said Senate Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing.
Michigan currently pays out roughly $34 billion in tax credits. Under the Michigan 2020 Plan recently unveiled, $3.5 billion in tax credits and loopholes would be eliminated. Democrats put the tuition proposal’s cost at least at $1.8 billion. [...]
Under the plan, graduates who spent their entire K-12 years in Michigan schools would be eligible for the full award, which equates to the median tuition level of all public universities — currently $9,575 per year. Those who attended school for awhile outside the state would get a percentage of that amount.
The article goes on to say that, according to Michigan Senate Democrats, the elimination of $3.5 billion in tax loopholes, which would fund this program, is only a 10% reduction in the tax credits already extended by the state.
[The rest of the article, which goes into the details, can be found here.]
In related news, it was reported a few days ago by the right wing think tank, The Center for Michigan, that, “Michigan families pay more to send their children to state universities than families in almost any other state… (while Michigan) gives less money to its public universities than almost any other state.”
It’s probably also worth noting that Michigan is one of the few states that spends more on prisons than higher education.