Senate passes FY 2023 budget plan

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas this week led Senate passage of a fiscal year 2023 state budget plan that increases funding for K-12 schools, reduces debt, and saves resources to provide tax relief for everyone in Michigan.

“A budget is a statement of priorities — and this budget plan prioritizes educating our children, improving our economy and supporting families struggling with increasing costs,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The Senate’s budget plan increases K-12 education funding by $938 million and once again sets a record for K-12 school support, invests nearly $2 billion into local roads, and creates a new scholarship program to help community college and university students — while also setting aside $2 billion to provide tax relief to all Michigan families.

“Instead of simply increasing the size of state government, we should focus on making government work better for the people of Michigan — and that is what this budget plan will do. It is the next step working with the House and governor on enacting a new state budget that improves our state, supports our people and lives within our means.”

Senate Bill 832 would invest $17.9 billion in K-12 education, a total increase of $938 million. After making history last year by closing the per-pupil foundation allowance gap between schools, the Senate plan would use $630.5 million to increase the minimum foundation allowance by another $450 to $9,150 per student. The bill includes an additional $70 million specifically to help address learning loss due to the governor’s COVID-19 shutdowns.

SB 842 would provide a nearly $996 million increase for higher education, including an 11% increase for university operations and $581 million to pay off MPSERS unfunded liabilities for universities still in the retirement system.

The plan invests $361 million for a new Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which would cover up to $3,000 annually at a community college or $6,000 annually at a university. Students could use the scholarship at public or private colleges, community colleges and qualified private training institutions.

The total $74.2 billion state budget plan increases support to $55 million for the Going Pro program to provide grants to support employee training, provides $40 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to assist people seeking an associate degree or a trade certificate, invests $41.7 million to improve access to dentists for low-income families, provides $414.5 million to maintain the wage increase for direct-care workers instituted last year, and invests nearly $2 billion in local government transportation funding to help fix local roads.

The budget bills also prioritize more revenue sharing for local governments and more resources to train and hire 170 new Michigan State Police troopers and an additional 800 corrections officers. They provide a $1 million increase for Secondary Road Patrol grants that help support emergency response and traffic enforcement on local county roads.

“Every child deserves a loving home, and this budget also includes an 18% increase in the reimbursement rate for families who foster or adopt children in need,” Stamas said.

SBs 827-843 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration

###

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, outlines a Senate budget plan for fiscal year 2023 during session on Tuesday. The Senate plan focuses on increasing record funding for K-12 schools, reducing debt, and saving resources to provide tax relief for everyone in Michigan.

Stamas supports ‘transformative’ $4.7B infrastructure plan

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas on Thursday voted for legislation to invest $4.7 billion in making critical improvements to the state’s water, transportation, broadband and parks infrastructure.

“I have long said that we should take this unique opportunity to use an unprecedented level of federal funding to make long-term changes that will benefit the people of Michigan for decades instead of growing the size of government,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Senate Bill 565 will do that by providing critical funding to help our communities improve their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, support dam safety, boost broadband connectivity, and enhance our state and local parks.

“By successfully working together, we reached an agreement on historic funding to make Michigan an even better place to raise a family, live and work — and I look forward to seeing the results of these transformative investments.”

Senate Bill 565 would use $4.1 billion in federal funding and $571 million in state resources to make important infrastructure investments across the state, including over $1.7 billion to help communities improve their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure — with at least 25% of drinking water funds dedicated to replacing lead pipes.

The bill features $200 million to rebuild Midland-area dams destroyed or damaged in 2020, nearly $317 million in federal funding to fixing aging roads and bridges, $250 million to help improve broadband connectivity to more households and small businesses, over $322 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for small local governments, and $450 million to make infrastructure upgrades at state and local parks.

SB 565 also designates $50 million to help install filtered water stations in schools, $60 million to help reduce PFAS or other contaminants from drinking water, $35 million to fix failing septic systems, and $92.8 million for airport infrastructure projects.

“Outdoor recreation is a significant part of life for many Michigan families, and this provides much-needed funding to improve our state and local parks, so people can enjoy them for generations to come,” Stamas said. “After devastating flood damage and the destruction of two mid-Michigan dams in 2020, we vowed to recover and rebuild. This plan includes vital funding to make that a reality and help ensure no other community experiences such a disaster.”

###

Bev Bodem honored for years of service to Senate

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas applauded Bev Bodem for receiving a 15 Years of Service Award from the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“Bev Bodem has served Northern Michigan in the Legislature as a staff member or an elected official for over 30 years,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “I want to congratulate Bev for this well-deserved honor and thank her as she continues to provide outstanding service to the people of the 36th Senate District.

“Bev’s contribution to the region cannot be measured, and local families and communities have greatly benefited from her service. Her dedication and knowledge have been — and will continue to be — an invaluable part of representing the people of Northern Michigan.”

Bodem worked for the late Rep. John Pridnia before being elected in 1990 to the state House of Representatives, where she served four terms. Since 2003, she has served as a district representative for Sen. Tony Stamas, Sen. John Moolenaar and Sen. Jim Stamas.

Boden has served more than 20 years in the Senate but was honored for 15 years of service because she has worked part-time for most of her tenure in the Senate.

###

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

Photo caption: Bev Bodem (center right) is honored by the Michigan Senate for 15 years of service at a ceremony after session on Wednesday. Helping celebrate Bodem’s service were (from left) Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint; Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland; and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.

Sen. Stamas comments on governor’s 2023 budget recommendation

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to State Budget Director Christopher Harkins outline Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal year 2023 state budget recommendation on Wednesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“Senate Republicans are very proud of the work we have done over the past several years to enact balanced budgets that helped build a strong economy and live within our means. Our budget is in a solid position today because of this record of responsible spending. Now is not the time to throw away the principles of fiscal responsibility.

“This election-year budget proposal features a lot of areas of general agreement — such as fixing our roads and bridges, supporting our communities and small businesses, and ensuring students are able to effectively and safely learn in school — but we need more information on her plans. It is a start for more detailed discussions on how to best use our taxpayer dollars.

“While our budget situation here in Lansing is strong, that isn’t the reality facing many Michigan families and small businesses. We have an obligation to make sure family budgets are in an equally strong position as they deal with the effects of the economic shutdowns, job losses and record inflation that increases their costs for everything from food to gas.

“As we consider how to use the billions of dollars in federal funds, we should consider whether it makes transformative changes that will benefit the Michigan people for generations to come and if the spending is sustainable after the federal dollars are gone.

“Beyond using the one-time federal resources, I look forward to working with the governor on a responsible budget that helps improve our state and the lives of our people, effectively puts to use our state tax dollars, and provides broad-based tax relief to Michigan families.”

###

Stamas: Senate Republicans prioritize tax relief, transformational investment in 2022

LANSING, Mich. — In advance of receiving Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget recommendation on Wednesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, outlined Senate Republicans’ budget priorities for 2022:

“Our budget is in a strong position because of Senate Republicans’ record of smart, responsible spending. But this is not an excuse for runaway spending and growing the size of government. Instead, we have an obligation to make sure family budgets are in an equally strong position as they weather the effects of shutting our economy down, job losses, and record inflation.

“I’m encouraged to hear Gov. Whitmer is finally ready to talk about reducing taxes for Michiganders, because they need our help. We will seek broad-based tax relief that covers all Michigan residents. I look forward to hearing if we will have a partner in the governor’s office.

“Budgets are statements of priorities, and Senate Republicans have prioritized giving schools the resources they need to open safely, fixing crumbling roads and bridges, and ensuring the water in our taps and lakes is clean.

“We will continue to view funding from the federal government as an opportunity not to feed state government, but to make lasting, transformational changes that will benefit generations of Michiganders to come.”

###

Stamas comments on passage of $1.2B COVID-19 health care supplemental spending bill

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement after passage of the House Bill 5523, a fiscal year 2022 supplemental bill to provide $1.2 billion in COVID-19 assistance:

“This latest supplemental builds on the billions of dollars we have already provided to fight the effects of the coronavirus by providing the resources to keep our kids in school safely, support our health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes, and provide funding for early COVID-19 therapies to help take the strain off our hospitals around the state.”

###

Stamas comments on 2022 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 State of the State address virtually Wednesday night, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“The governor has called for several tax cuts. I’ve always supported putting money back into the pockets of taxpayers. The focus is to find a way to responsibly provide relief, knowing that our current level of revenue is not sustainable with much being one-time federal funding.

“My hope is that this address signals a new commitment from Gov. Whitmer to work with the Legislature to effectively meet the needs of the Michigan people and build a brighter future in every community of our state.

“We have learned a lot over the last two years. There needs to be a balance, and our priorities will be on fixing our economy, meeting the needs of the Michigan people, helping improve the health of our state, and ensuring our students can safely return to the classroom and recover academically and emotionally.

“The Senate is dedicated to building on last year’s bipartisan budget framework to help improve the lives of Michigan families and small business owners, many of whom are struggling with rising costs and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.”

###

Stamas comments on improved state revenue and economic outlook

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

“It is great news that our economy is well positioned for continued growth and that our state revenues are better than previously expected — giving us the resources to meet our needs, improve our state and help Michigan families.

“Even with this substantial revenue increase, we owe it to the hardworking people of Michigan to effectively and responsibly put their tax dollars to use in a positive and productive manner.

“We should also remember that the budget picture we are seeing in state government is not reflective of the reality many families are facing around the kitchen table and in small businesses across our state, where people are struggling with the ongoing pandemic and rising costs.

“I am also concerned about our shrinking workforce. The Senate Fiscal Agency estimates if we had the same labor force as we did before the pandemic, our unemployment rate would be more than double what it is today. In addition, not having enough workers affects the ability of current employers to do business and our ability as a state to attract new jobs and investment.

“As we look at making long-term investments, we must continue to be wise and guarded with state spending. The last two years have illustrated that change can happen quickly and dramatically, so we need to be as prepared as we can be to meet any future challenges.”

###

Stamas supports ‘Make it in Michigan’ plan

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas has voted for legislation to make Michigan more competitive for new investment and jobs.

“This is about giving Michigan better tools to attract new opportunities and investment to our state,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The Make it in Michigan Plan is accountable and affordable and would help us compete for long-term, high-wage jobs. The plan is budgeted for in advance, increases strong repayment provisions if companies fail to meet their end of the agreement, and features detailed reporting requirements to the Legislature to ensure the program is meeting its goals and taxpayer dollars are being responsibly invested.”

Senate Bill 769 would create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). The SOAR program would receive funds through a legislative appropriation. Funds from SOAR would be transferred into the Critical Industry Program (CIP) or Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Program (MSSRP).

House Bill 5603 would create the MSSRP to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants to conduct eligible activities to create investment-ready sites.

SB 771 would create the CIP, which would provide funds for qualified investments to qualified businesses for deal-closing, gap financing, or other economic assistance that create new qualified jobs and/or make capital investments (not for administrative purposes).

LEO must transmit reports on the fund and programs to each legislator, the governor, the clerk of the House, the secretary of the Senate, and the Senate and House fiscal agencies by March 15 of each year. If the report is not transmitted by March 15, no dollars from the unreported fund may be disbursed until the report has been transmitted.

SB 85 is a supplemental budget for 2022 and would designate $1 billion for the SOAR fund.

The bills now head to the governor for consideration.

###

Stamas supports $3.3B water infrastructure plan

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas on Thursday voted for legislation to invest $3.34 billion in making critical improvements to the state’s water quality and infrastructure.

“I have consistently said we should use our historic federal funding to make transformational changes that will benefit everyone in Michigan for years to come and that is exactly what this plan will do,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The Protect MI Water plan would make unprecedented investments to protect our water, ensure people have access to clean drinking water, and make necessary improvements to our aging water infrastructure.”

Senate Bill 565 would use $2.37 billion in federal funding, $680 million in state resources and $290 million in repurposed state bond funds to improve Michigan’s dam infrastructure, wastewater systems and groundwater protection and provide clean drinking water.

The bill features $1 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities, $100 million in grants to remove PFAS chemicals from “orphaned” sites, and $85 million to ensure students have access to safe water at school.

SB 565 would also designate $680 million for dam infrastructure, including $650 million for projects prioritizing dam risk reduction, $15 million for emergency response activities by the state where a dam owner fails to pay for necessary work; and $15 million for a grant program for dam rehabilitation or removal.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###