Our good friends at the Sierra Club in Detroit have been following up on the public assistance cuts to families signed by Michigan Governor Snyder and have learned several more distressing facts:
- As of October 1, 2011: 11,000 people will be cut off from welfare benefits, and that will continue through until 40,000 people are eliminated from the system. 75% THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE CHILDREN WITH THE AVERAGE AGE OF 7 YEARS OLD.
- Unemployment insurance was cut from a 24 weeks to 20 by the state.
- The Low Income Energy Efficiency Fund which gave DHS, THAW and Salvation Army energy assistance funding every year — adding to $575million in help for the poor since 2002 — has been completely eliminated by ABATE and the Attorney General and the Michigan Court of Appeals; although federal money is still available, it is not enough to cover the gap.
- College students are no longer eligible for food aid, a much needed subsidy.
- There is now a lifelong cap of 48 months for those who receive assistance.
- Most of the assistance cuts will be to renters, disproportionately effecting women.
- These cuts have a secondary effect of increasing domestic violence.
- If utility service is cut from the home, children must be removed by law from the family and home. And, yes, the foster care system is hiring.
- NO ONE IS EXEMPT: Persons with mental disabilities are not exempt from the cuts, recent mothers are exempt for only 2 months after birth, victims of domestic violence exempt for 3 months and caretakers of persons with disabilities for 12 months.
- THE STATE OF MICHIGAN WILL SAVE $68 MILLION IN TAX DOLLARS FROM STARVING CHILDREN.
MEANWHILE, corporations will receive $1.8 billion in tax breaks to ensure major profits keep flowing in — while putting an end to Michigan’s practice of not taxing retirement income and seeking to increase taxes on Michigan’s working poor! (download pdf)
“Currently, someone in the poorest 20 percent of Michigan taxpayers pays a tax rate of 8.9 percent, while someone in the richest one percent pays 5.3 percent.
In addition to trying to make an unfair tax system even more problematic for Michigan’s low-income residents, Snyder has also asked that the state be given the power to dismiss local government and appoint emergency ‘town managers’ who could break contracts and ‘strip powers from elected officials.'”
When we can no longer count on government to stand up for the weakest and sickest among us, we must determine –at all costs — how to ensure that our children, elders and the infirmed are protected. What are you prepared to do?