Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Infrastructure, education needs get short shrift in governor’s ‘normal’ budget
RELEASE|February 8, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris on Thursday expressed his disappointment that the governor’s budget proposal fell short on solutions for road repairs and education.

Harris, R-Waterford, said the $80.7 billion spending recommendations that Gov. Whitmer presented on Wednesday neglected broken local roads as infrastructure funding hurtles toward a revenue cliff, diverted funds that Harris argues should go toward unfunded teacher pension liabilities, and failed to focus school resources to ensure students are succeeding.

“Michigan taxpayers will be disappointed to learn that the governor’s budget proposal ignores some of the most urgent needs facing our state,” Harris said. “While the governor keeps bragging about debt she’s foisted upon future Michigan taxpayers for state highway repairs, she continues to leave behind our broken local roads. Michigan kids in our K-12 classrooms are struggling, and this budget doesn’t take serious steps toward helping kids learn to read and do math. Meanwhile, the governor is reducing investments in teachers’ retirement benefits even though the pension system still has billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.

“The governor’s budget director called this budget a return to normal, but it’s still the largest budget in state history other than last year’s. If ignoring broken roads, struggling students, and unfunded pensions is normal, the governor has a far different idea of normal spending than the responsible budgeting Michigan taxpayers expect.”

Although local roads in Michigan are in worse shape than the state highway system, the governor’s budget proposal did not provide any additional funding for county and city roads beyond what is already required by law. Meanwhile, the governor’s proposal highlighted billions of dollars in debt that only fund state highways and don’t impact crumbling local roads.

The governor also wants to divert funds that currently go toward retired teachers’ health care, instead of reinvesting savings to cover unfunded liabilities in the teacher pension system.

Although the state continues to spend enormous amounts on K-12 schools, seven out of 10 Michigan fourth-graders cannot read or do math proficiently.

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