House approves budget with more than $350 million to improve roads

Categories: Lauwers News

The Michigan House today approved a responsible budget that includes an additional $350 million to improve roads and bridges without increasing taxes or fees, state Rep. Dan Lauwers announced.

House Bill 4328, one of two state budget bills, includes $351 million in additional funding for roads and infrastructure.  A projected $1.2 billion is needed to improve Michigan roads and bridges, and some officials have proposed additional taxes and fees to help pay for it.

“It’s important that we were able to pay for almost a third of the cost of better roads without increasing taxes on Michigan motorists and taxpayers,” said Lauwers, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  “We owe it to all Michigan taxpayers to exhaust every funding method available for our roads before looking at any fee or tax increases.”

A portion of the new road funding dollars will be restricted in order to meet the federal match.  The rest of the funding is a new budgetary line item to be used for “high priority roads” in Michigan.

The budget bill also allocates an additional $1 million in funding for competitive grants to fund research, education and technical assistance efforts to increase food-processing jobs in Michigan.

“Michigan’s food industry is as diverse as agriculture itself, and this funding could help strengthen the industry while bringing additional food processing jobs that are currently out of state,” said Lauwers, a member of the House Agriculture Committee.  “Food processing companies are mainly small, independent businesses that already employ thousands and thousands of people.  The barriers that currently exist for Michigan food processing companies can be mitigated with this initiative.”

Michigan food processing companies also can compete for Michigan Strategic Fund dollars to support qualifying agricultural processing businesses in job creation.

Other highlights of the budget bills include:

  • $444 million in additional funding for K-12 education;
  • $75 million for the state’s Rainy Day Fund; and
  • $20 million in individual tax relief.

“Our budget proposal is a responsible plan to help improve our economy and promote more efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township.   “We’re also approving our state budget earlier so our schools and local governments can properly plan their individual budgets.”

HB 4328 and HB 4228, the other budget measure, now go to the Senate for consideration.