Plan reduces debt, spends less taxpayer money that current budget
State Rep. Scott VanSingel today voted for a responsible state budget that focuses on issues key to hard-working taxpayers, such as school funding, classroom safety and fixing roads.
VanSingel, of Grant, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said the budget is once again complete months ahead of the constitutional deadline, giving local governments and school districts the information they need to set their own spending plans.
VanSingel said classroom funding and school safety are two of his key priorities.
“Almost every school district in the communities I serve will receive the maximum $240 per-student increase in education spending, which helps narrow the funding gap that exists between rural school districts and those in larger urban areas,” VanSingel said. “We also are focusing on school safety. In light of the horrible attacks on schools, we must make our classrooms as secure as possible. Parents deserve that peace of mind, and our budget invests some $60 million to upgrading school security.”
Roads and bridge repair also continues to be a major focus of the budget.
“I drive on the same roads you do, so I get it – our roads are in dire need of repair,” VanSingel said. “Problems with our transportation system did not happen overnight, and it will take time to make the necessary repairs, but we are on the right path.”
The House plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 focuses on:
- Savings for taxpayers. While investing more in top priorities, overall the state is spending less in the next budget year than during the current year. A prison will be closed and budgets for several state departments will decline as state government becomes more efficient and eliminates waste.
- Road repairs. The new plan accelerates the timeline for desperately needed improvements, spending $4 billion overall on road repairs next budget year – a record-high investment up about $1 billion in state money alone from just a few years ago. Projects must be done on time and on budget, with strengthened warranties to ensure quality.
- Workforce development. Michigan students will have more opportunities to train for high-demand jobs and higher wages through a $100 million program Gov. Rick Snyder has named the Marshall Plan for Talent.
- Campus safety. Universities will be held accountable to better protect students. This plan includes provisions to raise standards for handling sexual assault complaints at universities.
- Community safety. The plan funds training of 155 new Michigan State Police troopers – putting our trooper strength at its highest level in 18 years.
- Health care. Community mental health funding will increase by more than $65 million statewide so residents can live happier, more independent lives. Also supporting the House CARES initiative, about $15 million will be invested in a range of programs including increased access to health care, services to military veterans, problem-solving courts and crime victims’ rights programs. More resources also will be dedicated to battling the opioid abuse crisis.
House Bill 5579 and Senate Bill 848 advance to the governor for his consideration.