Governor's Office, MHBCCC and Michigan Department of Human Services fail to respond to queries concerning source of continued funding; video on shows DHS refusing to answer legislator's questions

For Immediate Release
Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

Contact: Kathy Hoekstra
Communications Specialist


Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications

MIDLAND — In a new Mackinac Center video, key members of a Michigan House appropriations subcommittee question how a controversial state agency critical to the purported unionization of home-based day care providers continues to operate after the Michigan Legislature eliminated the agency's funding from the fiscal 2010 budget. The three-minute video explores how the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, created by the Michigan Department of Human Services and Mott Community College, appears to be active, even as the Governor's Office, the DHS and the MHBCCC refuse to explain how.

"We did defund the council," Rep. Dudley Spade, D-Tipton, told Mackinac Center Communications Specialist Kathy Hoekstra, who produced the video. "We cut the entire amount of the funding." Spade is chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services, which oversees the DHS and the MHBCCC.

Hoekstra also interviewed Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, vice chair of the subcommittee. Agema said of the MHBCCC, "If it's still operating, I want to know why, how, and where it gets its money from."

Both Spade and Agema have in fact sought an answer to this simple question, as shown in a remarkable video clip posted today on the Web site of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a publication of the Mackinac Center. In the clip, a top DHS official repeatedly refuses to answer Rep. Spade's questions about the funding source for the MHBCCC, citing "pending litigation" - presumably a Mackinac Center lawsuit concerning the DHS' withholding of so-called union dues from checks sent to home-based day care providers. But in a related Michigan Capitol Confidential article, "Axed State Agency Mysteriously Operational," Rep. Agema responded to that concern, telling reporter Tom Gantert, "The question asked is totally different than the lawsuit."

The MHBCCC has been designated the "employer" of 40,000 to 70,000 home-based child care providers, thereby giving Child Care Providers Together Michigan — a government employee union that claims to represent them — a convenient entity to organize against. The resulting "collective bargaining" contract allows the union to collect millions of dollars in "dues" from these home-based contractors and employers. 

The story of the forced unionization was covered yesterday in a John Stossel segment on Fox News Channel, and the video has been posted to