Rep. Lynn Afendoulis this week voted in favor of a state budget plan focused on savings and efficiencies while investing more than ever in schools and roads – without tax increases.
“I’m proud to support a pro-taxpayer, pro-education and pro-family state budget,” said Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids Township. “This plan invests significantly more resources in critical areas – like roads, schools and career opportunities – without raiding family finances or hurting small businesses with higher taxes. West Michigan and our entire state will become an even better place to live and work as result.”
The House approved several budget measures this week, advancing the plan to the Senate for further consideration.
Key elements of the budget plan:
- Roads. The plan ensures every single penny spent on taxes at the gas pump goes to improve our roads – including the 6 percent sales tax motorists already pay. This change could add more than $800 million more per year to road repairs – without raising taxes – once fully phased in after two years. Afendoulis – who chairs the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee — said this change would be accomplished without sacrificing money for schools, local government revenue sharing or other essential public services. It’s a sharp contrast to the governor’s proposed 45-cent per gallon tax increase, which would be far more expensive and would not all go to roads.
- Strengthening communities and families. The plan dedicates more resources to protect drinking water, clean up the environment, promote mental health and fight opioid addiction. Local communities will get an increase in revenue sharing to enhance essential public services, and more Michigan State Police troopers and state prison corrections officers will be trained.
- Schools. Early literacy and career training are special focuses as the overall school aid fund would surpass $15 billion, the largest investment in K-12 education in state history. Among other spending improvements, the plan boosts funding for literacy coaches to eliminate a major roadblock to academic success.
- Respecting taxpayers through government efficiencies. Many state departments are being asked to find a savings of 3 percent in their administrative budgets. The House also has identified several state programs that do not spend as much money as taxpayers have been providing, so their budgets will be adjusted accordingly. The plan also helps rein in information technology project spending within state departments, which has been a problem area.
The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.