Rep. Jeff Yaroch voted in favor of a new Michigan state budget investing more in education, roads and other essential services – without a tax increase.
Yaroch’s votes came as the Legislature completed its work on a new state budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Last week, Yaroch helped approve substantially increased investment in Michigan students as part of the same overall budget.
The schools budget includes $15.2 billion for Michigan students, increasing the foundation allowance by more than $300 million – up to $240 more per student. Additional support is provided for special education, early literacy, school safety and several other programs.
“As the son of a 1st grade teacher, it’s incredibly important to me that we continue to correct the inequity in per pupil funding that Proposal A was meant to fix,” Yaroch said. “This budget invests more in every Michigan student, to help them succeed regardless of whether they choose a four-year degree or a skilled trade.”
Yaroch serves as chair of the House’s budget subcommittee for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. As part of his plan for the LARA budget, Yaroch fought to secure funding for the First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund after the governor’s budget proposal failed to provide sustained funding for it. The fund is used to help firefighters with job-related cancers.
“This fund is crucial to ensuring that we take care of the firefighters who take care of us,” said Yaroch, who served as a firefighter and paramedic for 27 years before becoming a state legislator. “I’m pleased we were able to shore up the fund and I am committed to a deep dive to pursue long-term funding options.”
The LARA budget includes funding for the state’s urban search and rescue team which was also not funded in the governor’s budget. This is an important resource that brings unique rescue assets in times of crisis. The Bureau of Fire Services also received additional funding to assist with firefighter training on foam with PFAS.
The Legislature’s budget also places a priority on:
- Roads. Another $400 million is invested in road and bridge repairs, continuing the Legislature’s commitment to improving roads without tax increases or cuts to essential services. Michigan’s Department of Transportation budget will top $5 billion and provide more money for road repairs than ever before.
- Public health. Another $120 million is dedicated to protect drinking water against PFAS, lead and other contaminants. Funding to prevent opioid abuse and provide substance abuse treatment increased by more than $30 million. A statewide mental health hotline is supported by a $2 million commitment.
- Public safety. Eighty-six new Michigan State Police troopers will be trained. Statutory revenue sharing increases by 2.3 percent to help local governments maintain essential public services including police and fire departments.
- Economic growth. Investments continue and increase in programs such as Going Pro to train more workers for good-paying, high demand careers so they can support themselves and their families – continuing Michigan’s economic comeback. This builds upon the previously approved schools budget providing significant increases in career and technical education.
“I believe we took a serious needs versus wants approach to prioritize spending,” Yaroch said. “I think the residents in my district feel taxed out and they are looking for our state to live within its budget. Unlike Congress, I am confident that the Michigan Legislature and the Governor will put people before partisan politics and get the budget done without a shut down.”