Groups Fear State Cuts Could Crush Them

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

The "Michigan Youth Challenge Academy" in Battle Creek is credited with turning around the lives of nearly 2,000 troubled teenagers, like 16-year-old Micah Passerby of Charlotte.

"[I was] not taking the right path, doing the wrong things," he tells us at a rally Tuesday.

"Realistically, Micah was looking at a group home, a long-term detention center or group home," says his mother, Brenda.

Those are no longer possibilities, because Micah claims the non-profit program has rehabilitated him.

But because of the budget situation, others might not have that same chance.

"The funding in the state in the passed senate budget has been zeroed out," says Rep. Kate Segal, (D) Battle Creek. "There's no state funding for the program. And it's a wonderful program that costs just $1 million," with a federal match of $3 million.

Film industry workers and mental health advocates are also in a similar boat, holding protests Tuesday.

Their funding faces possible cuts, too.

"If we can't provide help for folks, a number of individuals will cost the state far more in terms of ER visits and hospital trips," says Michael Vizena, executive director of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards.

"Clearly we don't want to put the citizens of Michigan in danger," Governor Jennifer Granholm says.

But Governor Granholm is making it clear a mix of hard cuts and solid revenue makers must be enacted to fix the $2 billion deficit.

"Things people have grown to expect will go into hibernation or be cut completely," she says.

If that happens, at least as far as the youth program goes, Brenda Passerby fears the worst.

"Kids will be in jail. We're going to overload jails, put kids in detention centers, kids on the street," Passerby says.

Human side effects, she says, of balancing the budget.

The budget needs to be passed by Sept. 30th to avoid another state shutdown, like the one that occurred in 2007.

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  • by Anonymous on Aug 20, 2009 at 07:52 AM
    When I give to charities, I give to charities that function without government aid. If more of these organizations who request money from the government would turn it down, people will give to them more. If they accept government money, they are tied by government regulations.
  • by tera Location: mi on Aug 19, 2009 at 07:13 AM
    If it don't effect the rich and they don't need the services,they have no idea just what the services really help.Most running this state just read info on paper.People are numbers.Our mich jenn has blown money{our money}taxes we paid in for what she wanted.We can't vote on issues at all.The lawmakers have seen to that.The one thing we can be sure of is that God will give all these people what the deserve in the end.All so many on this earth have left is prayer.All the people out there that are seeing important programs get cut keep speaking up and hope jobs come to tax money can be gained to keep programs going.Proverty is wide spread over mich and job loss has caused it.The gov knows that and just has no idea what to do.Proves their not the smartest people and rather think on the rich side of the fence.They don't know where so many are comming from because they have never been there and don't plan on being there as they make sure they stay rich.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 19, 2009 at 06:31 AM
    Jen has been playing the shell game of budget shortfalls since she got into office. It is time for her to become hated like a republican and do stuff that noone likes.
  • by Andrea Location: Charlotte on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:40 AM
    I bet JENNY and the rest of our state Congress is NOT feeling any side effects. THEIR pay and benefits are not getting cut.
  • by JB Location: Jackson on Aug 18, 2009 at 08:21 PM
    Well the cuts need to start with Jenny's salary that would help some and then cut the lawmakers salary next. Plus alot of the benefits they get could be cut for now and that would give some more money for things that are needed.
  • by Gus Location: S. Lansing on Aug 18, 2009 at 03:26 PM
    I bet ole JENNY G. won't let her friends CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS get cut! PEOPLE...Remember her getting the new 45 million dollar MSP building that her FRIENDS built instead of her keeping the headquarters that MSU leased to us (the taxpayers) for only ONE dollar per year!
  • by Local Teacher on Aug 18, 2009 at 03:15 PM
    I would hate to see Michigan Youth Challenge Academy shut down. I have seen many students enter their program and come out with a new attitude, and a high school diploma, which they were not earning at their traditional high school. This academy provides a second chance for kids who need it.
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