Program(s): Department grants
Special Revenue Funds:
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.
Adult Basic Education.
This program is designed to teach basic math, literacy
and English as a second language to Michigan adults. This line item is but one
of several appropriations designed to help adults achieve rudimentary literacy
skills. Like many other programs, adult education is well intentioned and
needed. This service, however,
is best provided and funded by local community organizations and businesses, not
state or federal government. State and federal mismanagement of K-12 education
is a primary reason that so many adults require remedial education or skill
enhancement; more state and federal intervention is a poor solution. High
schools should guarantee their diplomas and provide remedial education free of
charge to those who graduate without basic skills. There are also many
for-profit and nonprofit organizations providing a vast array of basic and
advanced training, and adults have sufficient incentives to seek them out when
necessary. This line item is part of the Workforce Investment Act, described
above, and should be eliminated. Savings: $13,500,000.
Council of Michigan Foundations.
The Council of Michigan Foundations is a nonprofit organization located in Grand
Haven. Its mission is to assist philanthropists, corporations, and non-profits
in their charitable work. The Council has more than 400 members. This
appropriation is funded solely through money derived from the lawsuit settlement
between the U.S. government and the major tobacco companies, and is used for
initiatives related to senior and youth health. The work of charities is best
undertaken with voluntary charitable contributions, not government funding.
These funds should be redirected to the General Fund/General Purpose budget to
support core governmental functions. Savings: $3,000,000.
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: $5,744,300.
Gear-up program grants.
The Gear-up program was established in 1998 to help increase the number of
low-income students who are ready to enter college each year. Children from
three school districts will work in partnership with scholars at Central
Michigan University to improve their pre-college knowledge. Special programs to
prepare and motivate low-income students to pursue undergraduate degrees are
well intentioned and needed, but should be funded and provided by private
charitable organizations, businesses and individuals. Many such programs
already exist, and should not be forced to compete with the government for
funding. Savings: $3,000,000.
Job training programs sub-grantees.
These grants support the work of Michigan’s 25
Michigan Works! Agencies, which are described above. The line item is part of
the WIA program. Savings: $98,802,700.
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
III above), under the program “employment training services.”
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: $462,000.
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: $940,200.
Supported employment grants.
The appropriation funds employment grants designed to
help individuals with disabilities obtain work with the help of job “coaches” in
their respective communities. As with other social services described in this
and other chapters, these services need not be provided by government.
Technology assistance grants.
This appropriation funds the state program “Tech
2000,” which helps local communities obtain high-technology equipment for job
training. If it is necessary, this service should be provided and funded by
private charitable organizations, businesses, and individuals, preferably
community-based programs, which best understand local needs. Many organizations
and businesses, both for-profit and nonprofit, already provide a panoply of job
training programs. Savings: $1,378,700.
Carl D. Perkins Grants.
These federal grants help fund new curriculum
development, professional development for teachers, and help create
relationships between vocational-technology programs and educators throughout
Michigan high schools and community colleges. This program attempts to assist
students in obtaining vocational-education training. Federal intervention has
eroded the historic and effective role of labor unions and companies in
vocational training, The state of Michigan could call upon the federal
government to end its involvement in these programs and eliminate this
appropriation. (For information on refusing federal funds, see Appendix I.)
Institutions of civil society have been providing vocational training without
government aid for years. For example, the Ford Corporation and the U.A.W. run
a joint apprenticeship program in New Boston that has helped 30,000 hourly
employees earn credentials as tradesman since 1941. Programs such as this have
been very effective, and cost-free to taxpayers. Savings:
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:
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.
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: $72,898,600.
Michigan Virtual University.
This program began in 1998 as a private, nonprofit
institution designed to deliver online education services in Michigan. While it
is technically a private institution, it was created by former Gov. Engler, and
by the quasi-public Michigan Economic Development Corporation, with state
resources. The state of Michigan already funds educational opportunities
through K-12 schooling, community colleges and universities. Adding this
marginal program is both unnecessary and unfair. Private, for-profit providers
of online education services, such as the University of Phoenix, do not receive
state appropriations, yet they are forced to compete with those who do. In
addition, private schools such as Michigan’s Baker College — as well as many
public universities — maintain an online presence as well, and business is
booming. Baker currently has 2,800 students taking one or more of 278
undergraduate and post-graduate courses online. The private sector should
provide all of these services free of state intrusions.
All of the programs listed above should be eliminated for the reasons provided.
Program: Employment service agency
Special Revenue Funds:
This appropriation funds the
employment service agency. This agency maintains four program line items:
Workers’ compensation; building occupancy charges; employment service positions;
and labor market information. Workers’ compensation simply pays the premiums
for insurance of the employees working in this department. The building
occupancy charges represent payment for lease obligations. The employment
services positions line item funds administrative staff and program support for
Michigan’s Michigan Works! Service Centers (described above, in section III,
“Workforce Development”). The labor market information section funds staff that
produce reports on statewide labor information.
All of these items should be eliminated with the rest of the
department. There is no need for Workers’ compensation and employment service
positions for a department that no longer exists. Labor market information
maintained by the state is not a necessary function of state government and most
of the data provided by this service is readily available on other free web
sites maintained by the federal government. Savings: $49,203,600.
Program: Information technology
All from Federal Funds:
This appropriation funds the
information technology services program for the department. This line item
represents the transfer of revenues from the Michigan Department of Career
Development to Michigan’s Department of Information Technology as payment for
technology services used by the MDCD.
This appropriation should be
eliminated with the rest of the department. Savings: $6,492,700.