News Release: Passage of Budget Cutting Executive Order “A Clear Indication of Michigan’s Dire Economic Condition’

Catholic Conference Calls for Preferential Option for the Poor in Next Year’s Budget

May 6, 2009

(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long made the following comments on yesterday’s legislative activity that saw over $300 million cut from the current fiscal year budget in order to balance the state’s $1.3 billion deficit:

“The $300 million in departmental budget cuts that were enacted yesterday, introduced through Executive Order and passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion, is a clear indication of Michigan’s dire economic condition. The passage of such harmful reductions that will take place in this current fiscal year has created a massive hole in the state’s safety net and, based on what has been reported, will likely continue into the coming fiscal year.

“Yesterday’s legislative action sent shockwaves throughout the health care and social services communities as Michigan’s two departments tasked with caring for the state’s poor and vulnerable population, the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services, saw their budgets shattered. While over $1 billion in federal stimulus funds will be utilized to cover the remainder of the approximate $1.3 billion deficit, it is doubtful that Michigan is better prepared today than two days ago to confront the challenges that certainly lie ahead.

“Michigan Catholic Conference is urging Democrats and Republicans to work together in the coming months, to look past partisan and electoral politics, and to craft a 2009–2010 state budget that, despite tremendous economic difficulties, provides a preferential option for the poor, vulnerable and destitute of Michigan. To do otherwise would signify an abdication of the state’s moral responsibility to care for those least among us.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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