Schauer’s plan also includes proposals to restrict the use of the School Aid Fund to K-12 and preschool purposes only, make charter schools more transparent and accountable to taxpayers, and create a one-stop shop for parents to compare school performance measures.
Johnson also said he was sure Schauer would release more specifics about his policy proposals “this fall and summer.”
Littell said he agreed that would be a good idea, adding that Schauer should focus on coming up with “substantive plans to address the issues voters care about most” instead of calling for debates.
Johnson gave reporters a preview of Schauer’s attack plan during the May 29 press conference, saying that Michigan’s much-ballyhooed economic recovery has been little more than “smoke and mirrors” employed by the Snyder administration.
Michigan lawmakers were told in early May the state’s anticipated $1 billion budget surplus would actually be closer to $600 million to $700 million.
Johnson also pointed out Michigan’s unemployment rate for April was 44th in the nation and the state is 49th in the nation in job growth. U.S. job growth has been three times greater than Michigan’s.
“Rick Snyder’s policies are putting Michigan behind the rest of the country in jobs, incomes and opportunities,” said Johnson. “Families are working hard, yet wages for workers are stuck. The middle-class has always powered Michigan’s economy, and the middle-class is struggling and shrinking.”
He also said that if it wasn’t for the auto industry rebound — which Johnson said was fueled entirely by U.S. government assistance that Snyder had nothing to do with — there would not have been any job growth in Michigan during the Snyder years in office.
Democrats also took time to thank Snyder for moving closer to the Schauer position on gay rights.
The Detroit Regional Chamber and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce issued a joint statement May 29 supporting the addition of language about gender identity and sexual orientation to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act before the end of the year.
While Snyder told Crain’s Detroit Business that he hoped the legislature would take up that idea before the end of the year, he stopped short of promising to sign it into law.
A few months ago, Snyder said the gay civil rights issue “was not relevant” in Michigan. Johnson called him out on the apparent flip-flop.
“It’s great that Snyder followed Mark Schauer’s lead on the minimum wage and amending Elliott-Larsen, but he’s still wasting taxpayer dollars on a flailing campaign against marriage equality,” said Johnson
Schauer took credit the last week of May for the minimum wage increase bill that was approved by the Michigan legislature and signed into law by Snyder on May 27.
“That’s a hollow claim. He is trying to take credit for something Gov. Snyder and the Republican led-legislature did,” said Littell.
“I didn’t realize he had a vote.”