‘Michigan’s budget is better than balanced’
State Rep. Ken Borton, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, today voted in favor of a comprehensive state budget that supports schools, roads, police, and more while maintaining a surplus to enable possible tax relief.
The plan will fund state government for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1 of this year, while saving billions of dollars for possible tax relief.
“After paying for essential government services, Michigan’s budget is better than balanced — we’re running a big surplus,” said Borton, R-Gaylord. “These extra resources should not be hoarded by the state or spent on needless new programs. Instead, we should provide Michigan taxpayers well-deserved tax relief.”
Highlights of the plan include:
Saving taxpayer dollars: Strategic investment, saving, and debt reduction in the budget will conserve resources entrusted to the state by Michigan residents. The plan preserves billions of dollars that can be used to offset relief for Michigan taxpayers. Already this year, the Legislature has approved multiple bipartisan tax relief plans — a gas tax pause and two proposals for income tax relief — but the governor vetoed all three efforts. A $180 million deposit will bring the balance of the state’s “rainy-day fund” above $1.5 billion. The plan puts down a total of roughly $2.6 billion to reduce the debt of public retirement systems, including for local government employees, educators and school staff, and the Michigan State Police.
Educating students: The school aid budget allocates a record $19.6 billion to support education for Michigan students. After last year’s budget provided schools with equal per-pupil foundation allowance funding for the first time, the new plan increases the amount of each grant from $8,700 per student to $9,150. The Great Start Readiness Program for at-risk preschoolers will also receive $9,150 per child. Increased investments will support special education, bringing the total to $1.92 billion, and additional help for at-risk students, a total of $747.5 million. Keeping students safe remains a top priority, with $168 million for school safety grants and $25 million for school resource officers. Other funds will help support student mental health.
Fixing roads: Borton, who serves as majority vice chair for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, said the plan continues to repair roads and bridges in Michigan, building on a $4.7 billion plan passed in March, which funded roads, bridges, dams, broadband equipment, and other infrastructure.
Protecting communities: On top of regular police funding, additional support for state and local law enforcement will help officers protect people throughout Michigan and form relationships in the communities they serve. The budget provides $30 million to help meet critical staffing needs in public safety departments with funding for police officer academies, scholarships, and cadet salaries. To help bring law enforcement and community members together, $16 million will support community policing initiatives, and $7.5 million will replicate Detroit’s successful Police Athletic League in other communities, helping foster relationships between police and local residents. Further resources will help pay for upgrades to equipment, such as communication towers.
The budget, contained in House Bill 5783 and Senate Bill 845, now advances to the governor, who is expected to approve it.
“The governor’s appointed bureaucrats didn’t even let her signature dry before helping utility companies pass increased renewable energy costs onto customers,” said Borton, R-Gaylord. “It’s disturbing to see how quickly this terrible new policy will drain the pockets of everyday people. Families up north and across Michigan are already dealing with high costs from inflation this holiday season. Lansing Democrats are piling the bills even higher as they work to please radical environmentalists and the fat cat utility companies.”
“Too many deer can become dangerous for Michigan,” said Borton, R-Gaylord. “Hunters are Michigan’s first line of defense for conserving our environment. This year, we’re asking them to let a couple big bucks walk and focus on the does.”