Plan prioritizes issues important to families
State Rep. Dan Lauwers joined his House colleagues today in approving a state budget that reduces overall spending while still making record-high investments in schools and roads.
“People in our communities want government to live within its means just like families are forced to do while making sure young people have the tools to succeed,” Lauwers said. “I think it is important to note that we have again passed a House budget that shrinks the size of government while continuing to reduce the State’s debt.”
The House plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 focuses on:
- Education: More than a quarter of the House’s overall budget proposal goes to K-12 schools, with $14.8 billion establishing a new record for K-12 investment – including the largest annual per-student increase in 15 years, ranging from $120-240 per student. Early literacy and support for academically at-risk students are priorities. Most schools in the communities I serve will receive $240 per student. Community colleges also receive a 1 percent funding increase to prepare students for the future.
- Road repairs: Funding will rise to the highest levels in Michigan history as the state addresses one of its most urgent needs. Overall, the state will have pumped more than $2 billion in additional funds into roads and bridges over a three-year period by the upcoming budget year – with more money coming in the future.
- Workforce development: More than $100 million is added to talent development and workforce preparation programs at the K-12 level, plus significant investments in other programs such as Going PRO. It’s part of the strategy to continue Michigan’s economic comeback, which has seen unemployment drop from 14.6 percent in June 2009 to 4.7 percent last month.
- School safety: More than $25 million would be added to improve school security.
- Campus safety: Provisions to raise standards for handling sexual assault complaints at universities are included.
- Community safety: A $1.5 million investment to further reduce the backlog for testing rape kits and develop a statewide tracking system will help ensure a backlog never occurs again.
- Health care: Access to mental health services will be improved so Michigan residents can live healthier, happier and more independent lives. Services to military veterans, problem-solving courts and other efforts reflecting the House CARES initiative would be enhanced. Incentives would be added to provide more doctors in underserved rural and urban areas.
- Veteran services: This budget increases funding county veteran service offices that provide vital information to the men and women who served our nation. Each county veterans service office is eligible for a grant of at least $25,000.
- Savings for taxpayers: A prison would be closed, reflecting successful efforts to reduce Michigan’s inmate population. Budgets for several state departments decline as state government becomes more efficient and eliminates waste. Overall, the House plan spends less money next budget year – continuing a trend of spending less annually while prioritizing what’s most important.
House Bills 5578-9 advance to the Senate as work to finalize the next state budget continues.