Capitol Corner Archive

July 2019:

‘The Year of Investing in Our Families’: Why Federal House Budget Must Prevail
This comes as welcomed news for advocates like you and others working to improve outcomes for hard-working, struggling American families after a period of disinvestment in their success.

In State’s Continuing Budget Negotiations, Forget the Road Rage. Let’s Fix the Holes in Child Welfare
Summer temps are finally rising in Michigan and the state Capitol is getting hotter while Governor Whitmer and Legislative leaders trade barbs and accelerate opposing arguments for carving out spending within the state’s $60 billion budget to “fix the damn roads.”

May 2018:

A Real School Safety Conversation
Matt Gillard, President, CEO, proud hunter, and concerned parent, is fired up after the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, but he’s hopeful to see that kids affected are leading the way.

February 2018:

A Time For Change
Matt Gillard, President, CEO, proud hunter, and concerned parent, is fired up after the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, but he’s hopeful to see that kids affected are leading the way.

December 2017:

Tax Fight the Beginning of a Long Battle in Washington
The House of Representatives and Senate have passed a tax reform package that not only misses an opportunity to thoughtfully support children and families through the tax code but also threatens nothing short of drastic cuts to essential programs and services at both the federal and state level.

October 2017:

Tax Reform Heats up in Washington, D.C.
The Senate passed a budget resolution, with the hope of expediting the tax reform process, by a 51-49 vote, President and CEO Matt Gillard explains why a budget resolution was used, lays out where tax reform will go from here and calls out the missed opportunity for a substantive tax reform conversation.

September 2017:

Legislators Return to Work in Lansing and Washington, D.C.
Writing from our nation’s capital, President & CEO Matt Gillard recaps what the debt ceiling deal means for Michigan children and laments the absence of children from the Michigan Legislature’s priorities.

August 2017:

Budget Pressures For Children Loom
Matt Gillard summarizes a recent CRC memo on the state’s looming revenue crisis, which, in light of the potential federal budget cuts for education, health care, and other social services, makes the need for investment in children all the clearer.

June 2017:

State Legislature Finishes Budget, MIECHV Re-Authorization and Health Care Poised to Move in D.C.
After having finally reached an agreement with Governor Snyder on a reform to the Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System (MPSERS), the state Legislature has completed its work on the fiscal year 2018(FY18) budget and the bills have been sent to the Governor.

A Budget Breakthrough in Lansing
Final negotiations on the FY2018 Michigan budget are now taking place. Legislative leaders and the Governor were at an impasse over the Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) with different costs to the state budget attached depending on the outcome. Legislative activity on the FY2018 state budget is expected to wrap up next week, as the Legislature is eager to begin their summer recess.

May 2017:

Trump Budget Proposal Alarming
May 24, 2017 – The Trump Administration presented their fiscal year 2018 (FY18) federal budget proposal to Congress this week and, as expected, the proposal is highlighted by substantial cuts to many programs that support children and families in Michigan.

State Budget Debate in Final Stages
May 12, 2017 – The process to determine how the state of Michigan will spend $56 billion in the next fiscal year is nearing its completion as both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed their respective versions of the state’s fiscal year 2018 (FY18) budget. The budget bills will now head to Conference Committees where the differences between the House and Senate versions will be worked out.

April 2017:

Budget Activity in both Washington, D.C. and Lansing
April 24, 2017 – Congress returns from Spring Break to Washington, D.C. this week to what is shaping up to be a busy couple of months. First on the agenda is funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, through the end of September. The current continuing resolution (CR) the government is operating under expires on Friday, April 28th and Congress will have to pass something by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

March 2017:

Action Begins on State Budget in Lansing
March 31, 2017 – The Michigan Legislature will be home for the next two weeks, and our Congressional Delegation will be home for a couple of weeks in April as well, giving us lots of time and lots of opportunities to talk with them. Appropriations sub-committees in both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate began moving individual department budget bills for the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) this week. We have some definite ideas about this year’s recommendations so far, and where more action is needed. Congressional threats continue as well, needing constituent communications.

Trifecta of Problems Call for Us to Work Even Harder
March 24, 2017 – The dramatic impact significant changes to the ACA and the Medicaid system could have in Michigan, and simultaneous federal and state budget discussions, create the potential of a nightmare trifecta for children, youth and families in Michigan. These three scenarios playing out concurrently in our state and federal legislatures, present an enormous challenge.

Health Care Debate Takes Center Stage in Washington, D.C.
March 8, 2017 – The first major legislative effort of the Republican controlled Congress in Washington, D.C. this year will be the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Congressional leaders have proposed an extremely aggressive time-frame and have vowed to have bills to the President’s desk by the Easter recess. Ending weeks of speculation and secrecy, House GOP leadership unveiled their replacement plan, titled the American Health Care Act, Monday evening that is being considered this week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

February 2017:

Income tax cut defeated in House
February 24, 2017 – The big news in Lansing this week was the dramatic defeat of HB 4001 in the Michigan House of Representatives. HB 4001 originally would have completely eliminated the state’s personal income tax over a number of years, resulting in a loss of $9.75 billion to the General Fund. The legislation was amended a couple of times on the House floor to eventually stop the rollback of the income tax at a rate of 3.9%. The amended version would have still cost the state’s General Fund $1.1 billion annually after its full implementation.

State Budget Season Underway
February 10, 2017 – The Governor’s FY 18 budget proposal is a good first step toward seeing some real improvement for Michigan’s most challenged children and families in coming years, but people throughout the state who care about kids need to make sure their legislators follow through on this promising start to the budget season and keep these and other critical provisions in the final budget that is presented to the Governor a few short months from now.

January 2017:

Begin the Year with Action
January 12, 2017 – With the impending inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and confirmation hearings for his Cabinet selections underway, the political attention of the nation is focused squarely on Washington, D.C.  Despite all of the attention and focus on our federal government, it is important for us to remember that the 99th Michigan Legislature was sworn in on Wednesday.  Now is the time for you to get involved to ensure that public policies and budgets are made in the best interest of Michigan children, youth and families with the most challenges.

November 2016:

When You Vote, Vote with Kids and Families in Mind
November 2, 2016 – Our state and nation face a critical turning point next week with the election of a new president, and leaders at the state and local levels. We urge all citizens to exercise their hard-fought right to vote. Consider your candidate choices from the perspective of what’s best for children, youth, families and Michigan’s future.

August 2016:

New Opportunities to Make Gains for Kids and Families as Lawmakers Return to Work
August 26, 2016 – After a summer break from Capitol duties, the House and Senate have, at most, 20 days together before the end of the legislative session to finish everything that has been started this legislative session but much work is still left undone. They have the opportunity to make a real difference this fall in a few key areas.

June 2016:

Missed Opportunities: Legislators Still Have Work To Do to Deliver in Key Areas for Kids
June 13, 2016 – State lawmakers finished a couple of positive developments for kids in recent months, including adopting the FY2017 budget before adjourning for a 12-week summer recess last week. But, the budget — starting Oct. 1, 2016, once Gov. Snyder signs it — missed opportunities for important improvements for children and families.

May 2016:

Legislators Need to Finish the Job on Foster Care and Juvenile Justice
May 2, 2016 – Two separate sets of legislation important to children and families – one taking up the cause of 17‐year‐old teen offenders in adult corrections and the other impacting children and caregivers in foster care – deserve to become law this legislative session. But unless they clear both chambers and the Governor’s office before the clock runs out on this legislative season, even the best ideas could fold like yesterday’s news.

April 2016:

Budget Advocacy: Two FY 2017 Proposals that Deserve Your Support
April 19, 2016 — Two positive developments for Michigan children and families are included in proposals for the FY2017 state budget. Both represent increased commitment in areas that have seen inadequate investment for many years. In each case, the plans would provide more support needed to ensure that children whose families are facing significant challenges grow up healthy and thrive.

To Improve Proficiency, 3rd Grade Reading Bill Must Have Appropriate Funding to Do the Job
April 5, 2016 — With bi-partisan support, the Senate last week approved (31-6) a third grade reading bill that gives parents a bigger voice in determining whether their children could advance to the fourth grade despite being behind in reading proficiency. The Senate plan differs from the earlier House bill that cleared in October because if offers more and broader exemptions for advancing children to fourth grade if they aren’t able to read at grade level.

February 2016:

Capitol Corner: Juvenile Justice Reform is Best for Kids
February 24, 2016 — Michigan is one of only nine states where 17-year-old offenders continue to be automatically tried, sentenced and incarcerated as adults. But a package of 21 bills that has cleared the House Judiciary Committee with unanimous and bi-partisan support would reverse this archaic policy and spare the vast majority of 17-year-olds from the adult corrections system.  Instead, they would be adjudicated in the juvenile justice system where community-based supports exist to help them build a successful future.   It is extremely encouraging that the “tough on crime” mentality is no longer seen as the only viable political option for conservative lawmakers in Michigan.

January 2016:

Michigan’s Children Sets 2016 Policy Priorities to Improve Odds for all Children and Families in Michigan
January 13, 2016 — Michigan’s Children is excited and ready to launch into 2016 with a keen focus on key policy priorities to help close equity gaps and improve odds for all children, youth and families in Michigan. Your expertise and willingness to speak out, raise awareness and mobilize support for new investments and policy changes are critical. There are many challenges facing children and families in Michigan this year and we need your help in letting decision-makers know we expect them to prioritize solving these challenges. Here’s a summary of what we’re pushing for this year, so please join us. Together we can make Michigan a great place to be a child and raise a family.

November 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard: What’s at Stake for Families in Final Roads Deal
November 5, 2015 — At long last, the House and Senate have passed a long-term road funding package that includes $600 million in new revenues and a still undefined $600 million cut from the state’s annual general fund. The Governor, who originally called the cut too large, has indicated that he will sign the agreement after all.

You must be asking: Was this deal worth the wait? And most importantly: How will programs that invest in the children and families we advocate for be affected by such a sizeable yearly reduction in the state budget?

October 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard – 3rd Grade Reading Bill Heads to Senate
October 20, 2015 ‐‐ Third-grade reading remains a focus of the Legislature as the House of
Representatives finally passed a third-grade reading bill last week. Led by Education Committee Chairwoman Amanda Price, HB 4822 includes a number of intervention measures aimed at ensuring children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade, but still calls for children who are not reading at grade level to be retained in third grade. Michigan’s Children has many concerns with the bill, but we’re glad to see one of our recommendations included in the House-approved bill to ensure that read‐at‐home plans involved not only parents and guardians but other providers who may assist with children’s literacy development including after‐school and child care providers.

August 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard:  Unresolved Road Fix Gives Us another Chance to Maintain General Funds for Kids & Families
August 20, 2015 – The Michigan Legislature’s failure this week to create a road funding solution before breaking the session gives advocates like us yet another important opportunity to press our point. We need a good solution to the state’s road and bridge problems that don’t rob critical general fund programs that support children and families.

Most important to their well-being is ensuring that already underfunded programs that help improve opportunities for children, youth and families remain intact, even grow in subsequent budgets. For that to happen, our elected officials should not divert general fund dollars for the repair of our critically ill roads’ infrastructure which has been tagged to need as much as $1.2 billion a year in spending just to get Michigan back on track. Truly, that kind of tough action needs dedicated dollars best coming from new revenues including higher gas-and-fuel taxes – and not by cutting programs that support our kids and families including the state’s modest Earned Income Tax Credit for tax-paying working families of limited means.

July 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard: Budget Advocacy: Keep Pressure on State Lawmakers Year-Round
July 21, 2015 – Child and family advocates agree: There is no good that can come from eliminating the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which thousands of Michigan families rely on to make ends meet and keep from poverty.

Neither can we accept nearly $700 million in annual cuts to the state’s budget when many general fund programs are designed to help children, youth and families facing the most challenges access opportunities for success. Within these programs are vital supports that close equity gaps and help level the playing field for all children and youth.

June 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard: Early Literacy Wins but Kids in Foster Care and Low-Income Families
June 16, 2015 – The Legislature wrapped up its state budget for the fiscal year 2016 which is a relatively good one for kids. More than $31 million will be directed to early literary efforts – a major emphasis in Michigan’s Children’s policy work this year – out of a nearly $16 billion education budget. As part of the literacy efforts, a huge win for children and families was the inclusion of a new $17.5 million investment for additional learning time for K-3rd that can be provided through before, during or after-school or through a balanced calendar.

March 2015:

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard: Legislators Take up Child Care, Adult Education and Truancy in Committee Work
March 24, 2015 — While state department budgets are expected to move this week as lawmakers gear up for their annual spring break, let’s recap what took place over the last two weeks as legislators reviewed Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed department budgets, specifically those related to children, youth and families.

Capitol Corner with Matt Gillard: Legislators Discuss Top Priorities for Children, Youth, Families
March 10, 2015 – Several important signals have emerged from hearings in recent weeks regarding key Michigan’s Children priorities, including the state’s child care subsidy system, the Great Start Readiness Program for 4-year-old preschoolers, investments in career tech and adult education, and critical K-12 support for the most challenged kids. Here’s a brief recap of developments for the current state budget (through a supplemental budget bill) and legislative committee hearings on next year’s budget.