Program(s): Department grants

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$278,762,900

Special Revenue Funds:

$10,708,800

GF/GP:

$12,946,500

Total:

$302,418,200

Program Description:

This appropriation funds grants to various charitable, educational, and welfare-to-work programs. The following is a list of those programs, a brief description, and the amount that could be saved by eliminating the program.

Focus: HOPE. Focus: HOPE is a well known, Detroit-area civil- and human- rights organization that is dedicated to improving humanity through multi-cultural charitable and education programs. It charges nominal fees for some of its work and uses its MDCD grant for job training. There is no reason to believe that this exemplary organization, and others like it, would not succeed without government subsidies. The majority of Focus: HOPE’s revenue comes from private sources, as does that of countless religious organizations that provide job training and education as part of their own social services network. This appropriation should be eliminated. Savings: $5,860,200.

Michigan Community Service Commission sub-grantees. Sub-grantees are organizations that receive government grants to help foster volunteerism in Michigan. The work of the MCSC, and the reason it should be eliminated, is described in "Workforce Development" (section II above), under the program "employment training services." Savings: $6,180,100.

Personal assistance services. This appropriation funds personal assistance for people with disabilities at their place of work. As with other social service programs, the intention of this program is laudable. Such services, however, should be provided and funded by private charitable organizations, businesses, and individuals, preferably community-based programs, which best understand local needs. Savings: $459,500.

Pre-college programs in engineering and the sciences. This appropriation funds the Detroit and Grand Rapids area Pre-College Engineering programs, which are designed to prepare and motivate students to pursue degrees in engineering or the sciences. Assistance, however, should be provided by private, charitable organizations, businesses, and individuals, preferably community-based programs which best understand local needs. Kettering University runs such programs and does so without state aid. Savings: $500,000.

Vocational rehabilitation client services/facilities. This appropriation funds rehabilitation and independent living services for workers with disabilities. As discussed elsewhere in this report, job training or retraining is fundamentally the responsibility of employers, employees, and private organizations — not the state or federal governments. Savings: $54,989,500.

Vocational rehabilitation independent living. This appropriation funds 10 Centers for Independent Living in Michigan. These centers work to provide services and resources for people with disabilities. As with the two line items directly above, there is no question that disabled individuals require assistance in learning certain skills. Such assistance should be provided and funded by private charitable organizations, businesses, and individuals — preferably community-based programs, which best understand local needs. State support for these sites should be eliminated. Savings: $3,079,700.

Welfare-to-work programs. Funding for this appropriation stems from the federal government’s Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. The program, which is administered by the state’s Michigan Works! Association, is designed to increase the ability of welfare recipients to become employed with the help of non-cash assistance, such as transportation, clothing, and medical examinations. While this system represents an improvement over the welfare system that preceded it, it still drains communities of resources, filters them through expensive state and federal bureaucracies, and returns a portion — with strings attached — to local communities. As a first step toward making sizeable reductions in Michigan’s own public assistance and service programs through the Family Independence Agency, the state should refuse federal funding for this program. (For information on refusing federal funds, see Appendix I.) The federal government maintains the prerogative of running the system itself directly in Michigan if it chooses. There is no compelling reason to pass this money through the state. Savings: $72,698,600.

Recommended Action: All of the programs listed above should be eliminated for the reasons provided. Savings: $139,985,500. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal increases the gross appropriation to $357,980,300.