By State Sen. Jon Bumstead
“As vice chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, one of my duties is to consider input from all who are involved as we work toward the common goal of a better Michigan. There were many good ideas the governor presented, and many that I can get behind in principle.
“What I was glad to hear the governor talk about is the need for increased focus on improving the skills of our workforce. I am happy to see her commitment to continuing Michigan’s comeback and fostering a growing economic climate.
“I was also happy to hear her call for efforts to clean up our drinking water. I think these issues are both fantastic starting points to budget discussions and look forward to working through the process with my colleagues and the governor’s administration.
“I am very wary, however, of her recommendation to increase funding for our state’s roads. We’ve all been asking how we would pay for her goals mentioned in the State of the State address. Well today we see it is simply another tax increase.
“The Legislature approved landmark road funding initiatives in recent years that have yet to take full effect, and we are seeing results based off those efforts. I would like to see more success out of current funding before going back to the taxpayers again and throwing money at a program that has not been fully implemented.
“Lastly, in today’s budget recommendations the governor proposed eliminating income tax liability for those who were fortunate enough to retire with a pension, though not all senior citizens are treated equally. Those with a pension will get tax relief, while those with a 401k or seniors still working will not see any benefit. I am willing to consider a plan to help our seniors as long as it helps all seniors and not a select group hand-picked by the governor.
“For eight years in a row, the Legislature and governor have approved the state budget well before the beginning of the fiscal year. I look forward to working through these tough issues and once again approving the budget well ahead of schedule.”
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