**Media Advisory** Stamas available for comments following 2020 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas will be available for comments following the governor’s 2020 State of the State address on Wednesday.

Who:
Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
Immediately following the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Where:
By phone.

Brief:
Stamas will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please contact Stamas’ office prior to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 to schedule an interview time with the senator. Stamas’ office may be reached by phone at 1-517-373-7946 or by email at senjstamas@senate.michigan.gov.

For those contacting the office after hours and who would like comments from Stamas after the address, please leave a phone number for the senator to call.

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Stamas comments on economic and revenue outlooks

LANSING, Mich. — After state fiscal and economic leaders at Friday’s annual January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference made their economic and state tax revenue projections for the next three years, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“It’s great news for Michigan families, workers and job creators that our state economy is growing and is expected to continue to grow.

“With smart budgeting and positive reforms, we’ve transformed Michigan from a state with annual budget shortfalls and high unemployment to a place where workers are in demand and we can regularly increase our investments in important priorities like education.

“Our current budget surplus is not a jackpot for new spending. We expect to face new budget pressures in the coming fiscal year. Additionally, we continue to talk with the governor about the political vetoes she made in critical areas such as funding for local roads and job training.

“This economic and fiscal forecast illustrates that we must remain diligent in how we use taxpayer dollars to meet our challenges and continue to build a brighter future for all Michigan families.”

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Stamas alerts residents of scam using fake tax debt letters

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas is urging area families to be alert for a new scam involving fake letters about past-due state taxes.

“Scam artists are becoming bolder in their demands and more creative in disguising who they really are,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “While their techniques may change, their intentions remain to trick people into giving them money or valuable information. I encourage everyone to continue to be on the lookout for scams, especially a new one in which the thieves send fake government-looking letters about an overdue tax bill.

“The new scam uses publicly available information about a taxpayer’s past-due taxes to try and trick the person into believing the letter is real.”

According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, in the scheme taxpayers are told in the fake letter to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve a state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s assets ― including property and Social Security benefits ― if the debt is not settled.

“Although the state does mail official letters to taxpayers, they provide several options to resolve outstanding debts and outline your taxpayer rights,” Stamas said. “If you get a letter that threatens to seize your property unless you pay immediately over the phone, it’s a scam.”

Taxpayers who have received the scam letter or have questions about a possible state debt can call Treasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265.

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Sen. Stamas scores perfect voting record in 2019

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate recorded 370 roll call votes in 2019, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas made sure to cast a vote on every single one of them.

“It is an honor to serve the people of the 36th Senate District as we work to make our state the best place possible for future generations,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Even with my extra role leading the budget process in the Senate this term, I am proud to have continued regular visits with constituents throughout the district and to have also not missed a single vote this year on their behalf.”

According to information on MichiganVotes.org, Michigan’s senators and representatives missed a combined 768 recorded roll call votes in 2019.

Stamas was one of 24 senators and 76 representatives who did not miss any votes in 2019. A full recording of missed votes is available at www.MichiganVotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx.

“My commitment to the residents of northern and mid-Michigan is to continue to work tirelessly to improve our state and our region for families, workers and job creators,” Stamas said.

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Szymanski memorial highway dedicated

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas and Rep. Annette Glenn on Friday joined friends and family of Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Szymanski at a dedication ceremony for a new memorial highway named in Szymanski’s honor.

In November, the governor signed House Bill 4485, sponsored by Glenn, designating the portion of U.S. 10 from Jefferson Avenue to Bay City Road in Midland as the “Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski Memorial Highway.”

“Lance Corporal Szymanski answered the call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country,” said Stamas, R-Midland, who sponsored a similar bill in the Senate. “I want to thank everyone who came out on a cold day to remember Steven, celebrate his life and express our deep appreciation for his service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.”

Szymanski was a 2008 graduate of Midland High School. After earning his associate degree in criminal justice, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013 and was killed while on duty during a training exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2014. He is survived by his parents, John and Dawn, and sister Ashlie.

“Seeing our community come together today to ensure we never forget the sacrifices made by Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski was so moving,” said Glenn, R-Midland. “I hope that each person who drives on the Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski Memorial Highway will take a moment to remember his life and the sacrifices made by him and his family.”

The ceremony at the Midland County Road Commission facility in Sanford dedicated one of two signs that will designate the memorial highway.

The memorial highway will have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. Under state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation can place markers indicating the name of a memorial highway only when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining the markers.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.

Szymanski parents support Stamas’ memorial highway bill

LANSING, Mich. — The parents of Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Szymanski testified on Wednesday in support of Sen. Jim Stamas’ legislation to permanently honor their son, who was killed while on duty during a training exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2014.

“It is importation we always remember that we enjoy the freedom we have today because of patriots like Marine Lance Corporal Szymanski,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “They answered the call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our way of life. This memorial highway would be a lasting tribute of our deep appreciation for his service and his sacrifice.”

Senate Bill 280 would designate a portion of U.S. 10 from Jefferson Avenue to Bay City Road in Midland as the “Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski Memorial Highway.”

Szymanski was a 2008 graduate of Midland High School. After earning his associate degree in criminal justice, Szymanski enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013. He is survived by his parents, John and Dawn, and sister Ashlie.

After hearing from Szymanski’s parents, the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved SB 280, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, has sponsored a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

The bill would have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. Under state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation can place markers indicating the name of a memorial highway only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”

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Stamas comments on budget process reforms, finalizing bills to restore many of governor’s cuts

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate on Tuesday sent the governor legislation to make important budget process reforms and restore more than $570 million of her fiscal year 2020 budget vetoes and transfers, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“The agreement outlined in these supplemental budget bills restores over half a billion dollars in critical funding for law enforcement, hospitals, local governments, college students, children in charter and rural schools, and more.

“It’s not a full restoration of the governor’s vetoes and transfers, but it’s a positive step forward for Michigan families — and budget talks on other priorities will continue in the New Year.

“In the wake of the governor’s cuts and use of an administrative board to transfer over $600 million, these government budget reforms will preserve reliability and oversight in the budget process and restore balance in the funding transfer process.

“I want to thank all the families in Northern Michigan who took the time to reach out to the governor and let her know about the impact her cuts were going to have on their communities and their children.”

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Senate approves Stamas’ bills to restore many of governor’s budget cuts

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas’ legislation to restore more than $570 million of the governor’s fiscal year 2020 budget vetoes and transfers.

“These supplemental budget bills would restore many of the critical funding line-item vetoed and transferred by the governor in October,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “This will restore funding to treat Alzheimer’s, autism, and opioid addiction; support local law enforcement and hospitals and local governments; provide scholarships promised to college students; teach children in charter and rural schools; investigate child abuse and protect foster care programs.”

Senate Bills 376 and 377 would restore a total of $573.5 million of the governor’s nearly $950 million in line-item vetoed funding and her $625 million in administrative funding transfers.

“While this does not restore all of the governor’s vetoes and transfers, it is a good first step in the right direction,” Stamas said. “It is my hope this is the last time any of these programs are caught in the political crossfire.”

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.

Photo caption: Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, details Senate Bills 376 and 377, which would restore a total of $573.5 million of the governor’s nearly $950 million in line-item vetoed funding and her $625 million in administrative funding transfers.

Governor should quit using northern Michigan as a pawn for tax hike

Stealing funding meant for children, veterans and the less fortunate for political gain is shameful and represents the worst kind of politics. Sadly, that is exactly what our governor did.

With bipartisan support, the Michigan Legislature delivered a responsible and balanced budget plan to the governor before the Oct. 1 deadline. The plan increased K-12 education funding by nearly $400 million and invested $400 million more into our roads.

Unfortunately, the governor decided to gut much of it because the budget didn’t include her massive $2.5 billion tax hike on Michigan families. She made a historic 147 line-item vetoes to cut nearly $1 billion in funding, including $375 million in road funding; $128 million from schools; and funding for children with autism, job training and access to health care.

As if her reckless cuts weren’t bad enough, the governor then circumvented our co-equal system of government by taking the unprecedented action of using an administrative board to move $625 million around various departments without legislative or public input.

The governor needs to quit playing games with the lives of northern Michigan families.

She stole vital resources for northern Michigan through her administrative transfers, including $1 million for child advocacy centers, $7.5 million for private well water testing, and funding to study the impact of PFAS on Michigan wildlife and fisheries. She even eliminated $3.5 million in funding for the Centers for Independent Living, which provide support and training for people with disabilities and their families.

The worst part is the governor did it to try to gain political leverage for a 45-cent gas tax increase.

She has been so bold as to email families with autistic children and tell them that if they want the autism funding restored, they should pressure the Legislature to support her budget priorities.

The good news is the governor now claims she would like us to help fix her budget mistakes; the bad news is she remains unwilling to ensure she won’t do it again.

The governor’s infamous transfers imperiled critical services and broke the trust of the Michigan people and the Legislature elected to represent them.

Gov. Whitmer has the power to rescind her punitive funding transfers. Doing so would be an important first step to restoring balance to the budget process and restoring our trust and the trust of the people impacted by her actions.

I encourage residents to call the governor’s office at 517-335-7858 and ask her to reverse the administrative board transfers and commit to ensure that vital services, vulnerable children and people with disabilities are never again used as pawns in a political chess game.

Governing is not a game. The governor doesn’t seem to understand or care that her cuts will have real impacts on real people in northern Michigan.

I stand ready to work with the governor once she reverses her transfers and has agreed to ensure such undemocratic actions aren’t repeated in the future; we can begin to work to restore her cuts and fix the damage she did.

Szymanski memorial highway bill soon heading to governor

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved House legislation to permanently honor Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Szymanski, who was killed while on duty during a training exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2014.

“I proudly supported this measure to show our deep appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Lance Corporal Steven Szymanski,” said Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, who sponsored a similar bill in the Senate. “Lance Corporal Szymanski answered the call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. Once signed by the governor, this tribute will honor the memory of a native soldier who never returned home and remind us all about the true price of freedom.”

House Bill 4485, sponsored by Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, would designate a portion of U.S. 10 from Jefferson Avenue to Bay City Road in Midland as the “Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski Memorial Highway.”

The bill has been returned to the House to be enrolled and sent to the governor.

Szymanski was a 2008 graduate of Midland High School. After earning his associate degree in criminal justice, Szymanski enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013. He is survived by his parents, John and Dawn, and sister Ashlie.

Szymanski’s parents spoke in June before the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of Stamas’ bill.

HB 4485 would have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. Under state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation can place markers indicating the name of a memorial highway only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”

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