Rep. Daire Rendon joined the state House this week to approve a budget plan investing more in roads, schools and other programs that will make life better for Northern Michigan families.
“This plan addresses what residents in our communities need most – better roads, better schools and career paths, and improved access to mental health care so important to families in crisis,” said Rendon, of Lake City. “It’s a plan that protects and enhances our Northern Michigan way of life. I will continue to fight for these priorities as the budget process moves forward with the Senate and the governor.”
The plan approved by the House does not include any tax increases.
Some of the highlights:
- Schools. The plan raises the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance by $180 per student, which includes the vast majority of Northern Michigan school districts. All districts statewide will receive at least $90 more per student. 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 adds more than $200 million to surpass $15 billion.
- Roads. The plan ensures the taxes collected at the gas pump go 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.
- Promoting mental health and supporting families. The plan boosts access to mental health services, including $1 million for a statewide hotline to connect those in need with immediate help, and makes clear the Legislature supports funding to expand the psychiatric facility within the Caro Center. The plan also supports rural hospitals and continues to fight the opioid addiction epidemic.
- Promoting agriculture. The House plan supports family farms and increases funding for Michigan State University’s AgBioResearch and Extension programs. The research program helps find advancements in food safety, nutrition and other areas important to Northern Michigan agriculture and the entire state.
- Strengthening and protecting communities. The plan commits more resources to protect drinking water and clean up the environment. Local communities would get an increase in revenue sharing to enhance essential public services. More Michigan State Police troopers and state prison corrections officers would be trained.
The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor, helped by several efforts to improve government efficiency.
Rendon represents the 103rd District in the Michigan House, which includes Missaukee, Crawford, Kalkaska, Roscommon and Ogemaw counties.