The people have spoken, and Michigan Democrats have listened...to the people at Occupy Wall Street, that is. State-level Michigan Democratic leaders plan to introduce a bill in the Michigan Senate that will provide "free college tuition to anyone in Michigan who needs it." CBS Detroit caught the story:
Democratic state lawmakers are ready to move forward with a proposal to provide free college tuition to anyone in Michigan who needs it. [...]
“We can find $1.7 billion to pay for kids to go to college because we know that education is economic development. They’ve (done) it in Minnesota, they’ve proven it in Kalamazoo,” said [Democratic State Senator Gretchen] Whitmer. “We can replicate that in our state – the whole state.”
State Republican leader Randy Richardville said he’ll take a look at it, but he’s not ready to endorse the Democrats’ plan.
Details of the plan are unclear at this point, as the legislators in question have yet to release a plan to fund the proposed program, or to explain which schools' tuition would be covered by the plan. In any case, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is unlikely to let the plan through, given his reputation for trimming the state's education budget and taking on the education lobby generally. Moreover, if the plan pays for tuition at out-of-state universities, it may exacerbate an existing problem for Michigan: its dramatic loss of population. By contrast, free rides for Michigan kids to go to Michigan schools may encourage the population to stay steady.