Legislator: Skilled trades, tourism industry receive heavy hit
State Rep. Mark Huizenga, of Walker, today expressed disappointment in the governor’s decision to veto funding for meaningful Michigan programs within the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Over $37 million in funding for the Going Pro program will be eliminated. The initiative helps train more workers for good-paying, high demand skilled trade careers and allows them to support themselves and their families while continuing Michigan’s economic comeback.
“Not funding this vital program means Michigan will be less versatile going forward when it comes to positioning people for jobs,” said Huizenga, who played a critical role in the budget process by chairing a House Appropriations subcommittee devoted to general government spending. “Professional trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in Michigan’s economy by 2024. It’s documented that there is a shortage of workers in a variety of these related fields and the governor’s veto will ensure that shortage will remain and grow.”
The governor also removed $37.5 million in funding for Pure Michigan, which enhances the state’s tourism industry and overall economy as a result.
In 2017, trips made to Michigan led to $2.1 billion being spent in communities and at local businesses throughout the state. The Pure Michigan campaign reported for the same year that visitor spending supplied Michigan with a return on investment of nearly $9.
“Apparently that doesn’t matter,” Huizenga said, referencing the governor’s decision. “If you own a business in an area that benefits from tourist activity, you will feel an impact from this. It’s really a shame something that promotes Michigan’s vast offerings – backed by evidence that it is helping our state’s bottom line – could be discarded so flippantly. Michiganders expect their governor to show great pride in our state. This veto shows that the governor prioritizes political gamesmanship over what is best for our state.”
The governor issued a total of 147 line-item vetoes, also stripping $375 million in road funding and over $128 million in K-12 spending from a budget proposal previously approved by the Legislature before the Oct. 1 constitutional deadline.