Lansing — Community colleges that implement new labor contracts before Michigan's right-to-work law takes effect could be financially penalized, but not as harshly as universities under a House committee budget plan approved Thursday.
The House community college appropriations subcommittee approved a 2014 fiscal year spending plan that bars the state's 28 two-year schools from receiving an average 2 percent increase in state aid if they sign a labor contract between Dec.10, 2012, and March 28, when right to work becomes law.
House Republicans are threatening to withhold state funding from community colleges, universities and school districts that adopt contract extensions that bypass the right-to-work prohibition against contracts that require financial support of a union as a condition employment. Any contract signed before March 28 is exempt from right to work until it expires.
Rep. Paul Muxlow, chair of the committee, told The Detroit News on Tuesday he intended to propose the same 15 percent cut in funding the House higher education committee adopted.
But the plan that emerged Thursday opted instead to tie a funding increase for the next school year to a decision not to renew or enter into new contracts.
Schools that can prove 10 percent in savings from the new contracts would not be penalized, similar to measures included in the House GOP budget plan for universities, Muxlow said.
"I wanted to have the consistent issue out there," Muxlow, R-Brown City, said Thursday. "I'm not too concerned about the amount."
Macomb Community College's board approved four new union contracts Tuesday, including an agreement to extend a three-year contract for adjunct faculty adopted in November by another two years.
MCC officials have indicated the contracts resulted in more than 10 percent savings for the college, said Mike Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association.
"They feel like they're not going to be affected," Hansen said Thursday.
If MCC failed to produce 10 percent savings, the college could lose $587,600 from its proposed $31.9 million appropriation next year, according to the House GOP plan.
The Republican-controlled subcommittee approved the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote after defeating a Democratic amendment to strip the labor contract language.