Stamas statement on FY 2023 state budget heading to the governor

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement after the Senate finalized 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:

“This is a responsible budget that puts our taxpayer dollars to effective use to improve our state and the lives of the Michigan people by making significant investments to educate our children, improve our infrastructure, protect our communities, and build a stronger economy — while also reducing debt and saving resources to provide tax relief to struggling Michigan families.

“We have worked hard to finalize a fiscal year 2023 budget that is focused on long-term results and economic growth, improves our local roads, helps train people to address our worker shortage, lives within our means and boosts support for all levels of education, including a historic $2.6 billion increase in K-12 school funding.”

Senate Bill 845 is an education omnibus budget that features a nearly $2.6 billion increase in K-12 school funding and boosts the minimum foundation allowance to $9,150 per student. It also provides $295 million to address student mental health, $305 million in scholarship funding to help address teacher shortages, and $168 million in school safety grants.

SB 845 includes a 5% increase for university and community college operations, $300 million to pay down debt in the higher education retirement system, and $250 million in a fund for a new student scholarship program, details for which will be negotiated this summer.

House Bill 5783 is the general omnibus budget and includes:
• $2.3 billion to help fix local roads and bridges.
• $1.7 billion to fix state highway roadways and bridges.
• $750 million to help local governments meet their pension obligations and free up more funds for critical local services.
• $325 million for a new state psychiatric hospital complex.
• $414.5 million to maintain wage increases for direct care workers.
• $110 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs.
• $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign.
• Funding to train and hire 170 state police troopers and train 800 corrections officers.

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Sen. Stamas comments on improved state revenues

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 May Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference:

“The rosy budget picture facing state government is not reflective of the reality facing many Michigan families struggling with record-high gas prices and near 40-year-high inflation that is increasing costs on virtually all everyday household needs, like food and energy.

“This surplus revenue is not the state’s money, it’s the people’s money — and they need it more than we need to increase state spending.

“You work hard for your income and the Senate is working hard to protect it. The Senate has already passed a budget plan that shows we can increase record funding for K-12 education, fix our roads and protect our communities, while also providing tax relief to all Michigan families.

“As we work with the House and governor on a responsible and efficient fiscal year 2023 state budget, the Senate will continue to fight to return much of this substantial revenue surplus to the hardworking people of our state.”

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Stamas supports NRTF bill with 4 projects in Midland and Gladwin counties

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas on Wednesday supported approval of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2022, including four projects in Midland and Gladwin counties.

“This funding will allow families and visitors in our region and across our state to enjoy everything Michigan has to offer and take advantage of our outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities for years to come,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “These projects will improve local parks and trails and provide new and exciting outdoor options for people of all ages and of all abilities.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. Since its inception in 1976, the NRTF has been used to fund 2,715 projects totaling $1.3 billion.

Senate Bill 1028 would authorize the NRTF to use $45.6 million in restricted funds to support 22 acquisition projects and 95 development projects. Matching funds of $39 million would bring the total investment to $84.6 million.

The bill includes four projects in Midland and Gladwin counties, including:

  • $300,000 toward a $431,000 development at upper Emerson Park to improve the Tittabawassee riverfront in Midland at the confluence of Sturgeon Creek and create a welcoming pedestrian green space. Two accessible pathways will connect the site to the adjacent Pere Marquette Rail-Trail.
  • $255,000 toward a $340,000 trailhead development for the Beaverton Trail at Porter Street and M-18 in the Beaverton. The trailhead will provide barrier-free parking, bike loops, a trail information kiosk, wayfinding signage, benches, lighting, and more.
  • $300,000 toward a $579,000 revitalization of over 2.5 miles of the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail and trailhead near Dublin Avenue in Midland.
  • $300,000 toward an over $1 million, one-mile extension of the Midland Township Walking Path starting near Overlook Park to Stewart Road. This trail is part of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail network connecting Midland, Bay City and Saginaw. It is also an official connector route of the Iron Belle Trail.

SB 1028 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Stamas supports 6 Northern Michigan NRTF projects

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas on Wednesday supported approval of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2022, including six projects in Northern Michigan.

“This funding will allow families in Northern Michigan and across our state to enjoy everything Michigan has to offer and take advantage of our outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities for years to come,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “These projects will improve local parks and trails and provide new and exciting outdoor options for people of all ages and of all abilities.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. Since its inception in 1976, the NRTF has been used to fund 2,715 projects totaling $1.3 billion.

Senate Bill 1028 would authorize the NRTF to use $45.6 million in restricted funds to support 22 acquisition projects and 95 development projects. Matching funds of $39 million would bring the total investment to $84.6 million.

The bill features NRTF grants for several area improvement projects, including:

  • $185,000 toward a $265,000 renovation of Lakeside Park in Presque Isle County’s Rogers City with modern restrooms and play equipment to improve safety for children and access for people with disabilities.
  • $300,000 toward a $912,200 development of restroom facilities at Bay View Park in Alpena to support events and activities.
  • $300,000 toward a $2.9 million development of 4.8 miles of the nonmotorized Iron Belle Trail (also Phase IV of the Iosco Exploration Trail) along Lake Huron in Iosco County’s AuSable Township.
  • $50,000 for the DNR to replace a footbridge at Harrisville State Park in Alcona County that is a critical pedestrian link between the modern campground and the beach area.

It also funds two acquisition projects in Northern Michigan, including:

  • $950,000 for a Department of Natural Resources purchase of 404 acres of forestland, including nearly one mile in the Pigeon River Country State Forest for hunting, fishing, trapping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.
  • $1.7 million toward a $2.5 million acquisition of 144 acres known as the Lake Huron Coastal Preserve in Iosco County’s Alabaster Township to provide public access to over 4,000 feet of Lake Huron frontage and create connections between the Alabaster Bike Path portion of the Iron Belle Trail and the natural area.

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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

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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, 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.”

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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.

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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: 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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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