Rep. Calley: House budget plan repairs roads, improves schools without tax hike

Categories: Calley News

Savings, efficiencies hold state government accountable

State Rep. Julie Calley this week voted to support a House budget plan that includes record funding for road repairs and schools without a massive tax hike.

“This spending plan addresses the most important issues facing families in Ionia and Barry counties without asking them for more money,” said Calley, of Portland. “Rather than calling for a big tax hike, we’re focusing on making state government more efficient. This allowed us to invest more in things like roads, schools, workforce training and veterans’ services.”

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 over two years. This change would be accomplished without sacrificing money for schools, local government revenue sharing or other essential public services. We will also build on the focus of the House Transportation Committee, which spent the spring exploring best practices and innovative ideas to ensure roads are built with the best materials for their price and value.
  • Schools. The plan raises the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance by $180 per student, which covers the majority of Michigan’s school districts. All districts would get at least $90 more per student under the House plan. This comes on top of the largest annual per-student increase of the past 15 years – which schools are receiving in the current budget year – while continuing to close the gap between the state’s lowest- and highest-funded districts.
  • Workforce development and career training. Not every child will go to college – but every child deserves a chance at success. Our plan boosts funding for career and technical education so Michigan students will be better prepared for good careers in high demand fields. We will continue the Going Pro initiative by shifting funds and adding nearly $750,000 for additional grants will increase the viability, versatility and potential of Michigan’s workforce. This program has helped residents pursue careers in skilled trades and support themselves and their families.
  • Supporting our veterans. We are fully funding county veteran service grants – helping ensure our veterans know what services are available close to home. Counties have the discretion to use these grants how they wish – to promote services, support full-time accredited service officers, establish county service departments and finance other essential services.
  • 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.

Calley said the House budget plan costs Michigan taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.