Funding supports local transportation, infrastructure, outdoor projects
State Rep. Ken Borton today touted billions of dollars in savings in the state’s new budget, which was signed into law today and includes funding for Northern Michigan infrastructure and transportation projects.
The general budget, contained in House Bill 5783, will fund state government for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1, while saving billions of dollars for possible tax relief. The school aid budget, contained in Senate Bill 845, was signed into law last week.
“This sensible, balanced budget pays for important services for Michigan residents without breaking the bank,” said Borton, R-Gaylord. “We focused on financial responsibility by paying off debt and saving for future rainy days. Billions of dollars worth in savings will make sure the budget does not limit opportunities for tax relief.”
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. In addition to the multibillion-dollar savings, the budget preserves taxpayer resources by depositing $180 million to strengthen the state’s “rainy-day fund” and roughly $2.6 billion to reduce the debt of public retirement systems.
In the budget, Borton secured $3.5 million to upgrade a wastewater treatment plant in Gaylord, which provides service to the local Treetops Resort. Upgrades will protect the environment by ensuring the plant can process existing and increased capacity. Borton, who serves as majority vice chair for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, also praised $14 million that will help purchase a passenger ferry to carry people to and from Beaver Island.
“Tourists from around the world come to visit Northern Michigan, see the sights, and join in activities, supporting our local workers and small businesses in the process,” Borton said. “Our budget will upgrade wastewater treatment infrastructure that supports a resort, and help purchase a ferry for Beaver Island residents and visitors. Natural resources funding will expand and improve the local and state parks that conserve our environment. These investments will help keep tourism thriving in our beloved Northern Michigan.”
Borton highlighted funding for local projects in Senate Bill 1028, another bill the Legislature and governor approved to support land acquisition and development using the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which collects revenue from the development of minerals on state land — not general tax dollars. The bill provides $300,000 to help Antrim County replace a stretch of the boardwalk river access trail at the Grass River Natural Area. The project will widen the trail for accessibility, add an accessible kayak launch and observation platforms, and enlarge the dock area. Another $300,000 will help develop non-motorized paths for bicycle and foot traffic through Boyne City Open Space, an ongoing park project at Lake Charlevoix. Finally, $950,000 will help the state acquire a 404-acre parcel of land in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, where visitors could camp, hike, hunt, fish, canoe, and participate in other outdoor activities.
Highlights of the budget include:
Fixing roads: Borton said the budget 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. The $6 billion Department of Transportation budget distributes increased funding to local road agencies.
Protecting communities: On top of regular police funding, additional support will help state and local 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 by funding cadet salaries and scholarships for police academies. 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.
Educating students: The record school aid budget increases the equal per-pupil foundation grants, bolsters support for special education and at-risk students, and reinforces critical school safety efforts, while helping address learning loss.
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