State Rep. Pauline Wendzel this week supported record funding for road repairs and schools, with additional resources for critical job preparation and research programs of great importance to Southwest Michigan.
The House-approved budget plan invests in these high priority programs without tax increases.
“My goal as a state legislator is to make Southwest Michigan a place future generations want to stay and raise their own families,” said Wendzel, a fourth-generation Berrien County resident. “This budget plan is definitely a step in the right direction. It supports schools, employment and our region’s proud agriculture heritage – without asking for more taxpayer money.”
The House approved several budget measures this week, advancing the plan to the Senate for further consideration.
Wendzel noted the following elements of the budget plan:
- Schools. The plan raises the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance by $180 per student, which is the same amount as recommended by Gov. Whitmer and includes the vast majority of school districts in Berrien County. All districts statewide 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.
- Supporting agriculture through research. The House plan increases funding for Michigan State University’s AgBioResearch program and for MSU’s Extension program. The research program helps find advancements in food safety, nutrition and other areas important to Southwest Michigan agriculture and the entire state.
- Roads. The plan ensures money 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.
The House plan also continues support for the autism navigator program – helping families find local support and physician services to provide quality care they need. More emphasis is put on supporting mental health, fighting opioid addiction, and fully funding the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Program. The plan continues Michigan’s commitment to providing clean drinking water for families and fighting PFAS.
The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor, and includes many savings and efficiencies.