Since it’s Friday, let’s start with the good.
The impact of right-to-work on the MEA? As it turns out, kinda…meh. Steve Cook, the union president, said on WKAR “Off the Record” today that only about 1 percent of Michigan’s 150,000 MEA teachers opted not to pay their union dues. If you recall, not only did the unions (MEA and AFT) get hit with right-to-work this year, but they are also subject to a new law specific to teacher’s unions which prohibits payroll deduction of dues – even on a voluntary basis.
So, 1 percent translates into a great big flop for the GOP. Fail!
The not so good news is that there is pending legislation that could negatively impact the school aid fund. House Bill 4831 was introduced back in June by Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, the chair of the House Committee on Education. On the surface, the proposed law appears to have nothing to do with school funding. It would exempt over-the-counter medications from sales tax. But, it’s the House Fiscal Agency Analysis that tells the real tale. They report the following (emphasis mine):
FISCAL IMPACT:As written, the bill would reduce sales tax revenue, affecting the School Aid Fund (SAF), General Fund (GF), and constitutional revenue sharing. Using industry market research data from 2012 on sales of over-the-counter medication that are likely to be prescribed by a doctor, the bill could reduce sales tax revenue by $8.2 million on a full year basis. Under this estimate, the loss to the SAF would be approximately $6 million, the loss to constitutional revenue sharing would be approximately $820,000, and the loss to the GF would be approximately $1.37 million.
The MEA website reports that this piece of legislation, combined with multiple other tax niche bills will add up to huge losses for public education. Groups that stand in opposition are:
[A] coalition of education groups consisting of MEA, the Michigan Association of School Boards, the Middle Cities Education Association, the Michigan Association of School Administrators, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
This particular bill was sent back to the House for consideration by the Committee on Tax Policy this week.
In 2013 alone, the MEA has identified this list of bills that could impact school funding if passed:
- Senate Bills 89-90 and House Bill 4234, which would eliminate the sales and use taxes on the difference between the value of a trade-in and new vehicle, resulting in a $152 million loss in school aid
- Senate Bills 142-143, which would eliminate sales and use taxes on prewritten software, causing up to $11 million in lost school revenue
- House Bill 4135, which would eliminate the requirement to pay local school operating mills on foreclosed properties and result in up to $42 million in lost school funding
- House Bill 4572, which would eliminate the sales tax on aviation fuel and reduce school funding by up to $41 million
The attack on public sector funding just never stops with this legislature.
Amy Kerr Hardin