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Press release/statement

Governor Synder's Austerity Budget Targets Essential Services for Michigan's Struggling Workers and Economy, According to New Report


For Immediate Release

June 23, 2011

Contact & RSVP: 

Leigh Fifelski, [email protected], (517) 999-3646

Anna Pycior, [email protected], (212) 389-1408

Lauren Strayer, [email protected], (734) 904-1704


Governor Synder's Austerity Budget Targets Essential Services for Michigan's Struggling Workers and Economy, According to New Report

Progress Michigan and Demos Show How Decades Of Similar State Budget Cuts Are Exacerbating Impacts Of the Recession On The State's Diminishing Middle Class


Download the report (PDF):

Lansing – Today, Progress Michigan and the national policy center Demos released a new report that demonstrates how austerity budget measures — similar to those Governor Snyder signed into law this week — exacerbate the middle-class crisis and the future of the state's already besieged middle-class.

"The State of Michigan's Middle Class" argues that the combination of thirty-plus years of damaging public policy and the 2008 recession has unraveled Michiganders' economic security and opportunity in a range of key indicators including: earnings and job quality, child care availability, and college affordability.

"We estimate that the jobs lost from the recession have cost Lansing over $610 million dollars in lost tax revenues, putting thousands more middle-class jobs at risk," the report notes. "If the state's unemployment rate were at pre-recession levels, those lost hundreds of millions would return to the state government's coffers, and could be used to help thousands of young people attend college, maintain dozens of state parks, or hire, for example, as many as 7,400 teachers or 6,500 nurses."

Quick Facts on the State of Michigan's Middle Class: 

--In 2009, 41% of the unemployed in Michigan had been out of work for six months or longer.

-- Real median earnings for young college graduates are currently no higher than they were in the 1980.

"The state of Michigan has been among the hardest hit by the Great Recession," said Leigh Fifelski, Progress Michigan communications director. "While Michigan's middle class began to decline long before the Great Recession, the economy continues to plummet due to misguided calls for 'austerity measures' in the state legislature and by Governor Snyder.  The path out of this recession is through the rebuilding of a strong, unionized workforce in Michigan. It is past time policymakers join with employers and workers to focus on job creation."

"Rebuilding the middle class will require bold public investment and a commitment among companies to hire new workers," explained Tamara Draut, Vice President of Policy & Programs at Demos. "Just as we built the middle class in the last century, expanding and strengthening the middle class today will require investments in the public structures that ensure individuals and businesses can flourish-our infrastructure, our schools and our colleges"

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will be in Detroit on Monday to hear from hundreds of ordinary Americans on their situation.  For more on the Speakout for Good Jobs Now Tour please visit

For more information or to schedule an interview please see contact information.