Rep. Shane Hernandez – chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee – said today that the committee’s budget plan focuses on savings and efficiencies while investing more in roads and schools without tax increases.
“It’s our duty to do the best job we can to provide an effective, efficient and accountable state government with the money taxpayers already provide,” said Hernandez, of Port Huron. “We have gone through the budget line-by-line to find savings and set priorities that reflect what matters most to Michigan taxpayers and families. That’s the approach we should take – rather than asking taxpayers for more money.”
House budget subcommittees finished their proposals this week. Some of them already have been approved by the full House Appropriations Committee, and others will be soon.
Key elements of the budget plan:
- Roads. The plan would ensure 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. Hernandez said this change would be accomplished without sacrificing money for schools, local government revenue sharing or other essential public services.
- Schools. The plan proposes raising the state’s minimum per-pupil commitment by $180 per student, and by $90 per student for districts not at the minimum. 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.
- Respecting taxpayers through government efficiencies. Many state departments are being asked to find a savings of 3 percent in their administrative budgets. The Appropriations Committee 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 includes a 25-percent reduction in information technology expenditures for state departments.
“We have got to rein in runaway information technology costs. It’s been a persistent problem area – costing taxpayers money and compromising important public services that people rely on,” said Hernandez, who is establishing a special task force to explore IT solutions with state departments and vendors. “Departments need to show they can remain on time and on budget, just like businesses and families do in their own budgeting.”
The budget plan also provides an inflationary increase for local governments through revenue sharing, enhances public safety with new troopers and corrections officers, promotes clean drinking water and environmental cleanup, and combats the opioid abuse crisis – all without raising taxes.
The budget plan is about $1 billion less expensive than the one recommended by the governor.
“This plan supports the priorities of Michigan residents without asking them to dig deep into their wallets,” Hernandez said. “We’re asking government to dig deep for savings instead.”