Investments in U.P. priorities accomplished without tax increases
State Rep. Beau LaFave this week supported record funding for road repairs and schools without raising taxes for Michigan residents.
“Upper Peninsula families are some of the hardest-working people I know,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “They don’t want handouts, they just want a state government that respects their grind and sacrifices. The governor asked Michigan taxpayers for more money to fund her many wasteful government programs – instead, the House-approved budget plan delivers better value for Delta, Dickinson and Menominee families without asking for more of their hard-earned money. This is about making government more efficient, effective and accountable.”
LaFave, along with his House colleagues, 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 45 cents as the governor proposed – 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.
- 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 Delta, Dickinson and Menominee county school districts will get $180 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. Early literacy and career training are special focuses as the overall school aid fund would surpass $15 billion.
- Strengthening communities and families. More resources will be dedicated 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.
- 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.
LaFave offered an amendment to prohibit unwarranted aircraft usage in the Upper Peninsula by the Department of Natural Resources. LaFave’s amendment was adopted in the House-approved budget plan, placing an appropriations penalty on the department for flying airplanes below 1,000 feet during the months of October and November – unless in instances where it was conducting a search for a missing person.
“Flying over private property and buzzing hunters in the woods is in direct violation of search and seizure protections under the Fourth Amendment, and it should not be tolerated nor paid for by the taxpayers of Michigan,” LaFave said.
The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.