State Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes) joined the Michigan Legislature in approving a bipartisan budget that supports key public services, such as schools, law enforcement, and roads, while paying down debt.
The plan will fund state government for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1 of this year.
Outman noted the budget plan fully funds Michigan government while preserving billions of dollars he hopes will make tax relief a real possibility for Montcalm County families and seniors. Legislators continue to look for common ground with the governor, who vetoed three bipartisan tax plans – a gas tax pause and two proposals for income tax relief – earlier this year.
“This budget that responsibly invests each and every dollar provided by Michigan’s hardworking taxpayers,” Outman said. “Investing in our schools means a brighter future for our children, investing in our workforce development helps our economy thrive, and investing in infrastructure and law enforcement keeps our roads and communities safe. This budget accomplishes all of that and more, making Michigan an even better place to live.”
Outman advocated for a $6.6 million state investment in necessary improvements and equipment at Sheridan Community Hospital and $300,000 for redevelopments at Crystal Township Park that were included in the plan approved today.
Outman also said the budget promotes fiscal responsibility by paying down debt. The plan prioritizes about $2.6 billion to reduce public retirement system debt, including that of local government employees, educators and school staff, and the state police. The legislator emphasized that though the sum of the new budget is greater than last year’s, much of the additional spending is for one-time spending, not ongoing programs.
Other highlights of the budget include:
- Educating students: The budget allocates more money than ever for education. After last year’s budget ensured that students, for the very first time, receive an equal per-student allowance, regardless of where they live, the new plan increases the amount from $8,700 per student to $9,150, including for at-risk preschoolers in the Great Start Readiness Program. There are also significant increased investments in special education and additional help for at-risk students. The plan also prioritizes an additional $168 million for school safety grants and $25 million for school resource officers.
- Protecting communities: In addition to regular police funding, support for state and local law enforcement will help officers protect people throughout Michigan and form relationships in their communities. The plan provides $30 million to help meet critical public safety staffing needs with funding for police academies, scholarships, and cadet salaries. To help bring law enforcement and community members together, $16 million will support community policing initiatives and $7.5 million will replicate Detroit’s successful Police Athletic League in other communities, helping foster relationships between officers and residents. Further resources will help upgrade equipment, such as communication towers.
- Fixing roads: The plan continues repairs to roads and bridges, building on a $4.7 billion plan passed in March that funded roads, bridges, dams, broadband equipment, and other infrastructure.
- Boosting workers and local businesses: The plan provides resources for various programs to help Michigan workers and businesses thrive, including community and economic development, job training like the Going PRO Talent Fund, the Pure Michigan campaign, and more.
The budget, contained in House Bill 5783 and Senate Bill 845, now advances to the governor, who is expected to approve it.
“Michigan families are tired of shelling out for high electric bills and being rewarded with power outages every time it storms. That’s the problem I’m focused on solving,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes, a member of the House Energy, Communications and Technology Committee. “The Democrats in control have another agenda. They’re pushing extreme mandates that cater to the environmental lobby while sticking residents with even higher costs for less reliability.”
The governor plans to give state government the power to permit solar projects by shifting control away from local government.
“Large-scale solar projects could have significant ramifications in some communities. Local officials know what’s best in their unique corners of the state,” Outman said. “The governor should respect their roles and stay out of community-level issues. My Republican colleagues are digging in our heels when it comes to maintaining local control.”