State Rep. Jack O’Malley this week supported record funding for Northern Michigan road repairs and schools – without increasing taxes on Michigan families.
“I have traveled across the state listening to drivers about road funding concerns. This plan ensures all taxes paid at the pump will go directly towards fixing our roads. With this budget, we would use available state resources to boost road repairs without burdening Michigan drivers with extra costs,” said O’Malley, of Lake Ann, chair of the House Transportation Committee. “There are many good things in the greater budget, however I am concerned with some of the reductions for public transit in the Transportation budget. I will be working hard to get this funding restored.”
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. O’Malley has hosted several town hall meetings across the state to educate drivers about the accelerated meetings in the House Transportation Committee and help find affordable solutions to help fix Michigan roads.
- 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. 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. More Michigan State Police troopers and state prison corrections officers will be trained.
- 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.
The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.