LANSING, Mich. — After listening to State Budget Director Chris Kolb’s presentation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal year 2021 state budget recommendation on Thursday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:
“We passed a balanced budget last year that used existing resources to increase funding for roads, schools and water protection to record levels — only to have the governor slash $950 million in vetoes and $625 million in transfers.
“As we begin this new budget cycle, I remain committed to working with the governor and our House colleagues to pass a responsible budget that improves our state for all Michigan families and job creators.
“My priorities continue to be to help fix our local roads, support our schools and our students, and protect our water and communities — while keeping our state on solid financial footing.
“I am concerned about the governor’s decision to issue $3.5 billion in bonds to improve some state highways instead of working on a realistic and affordable long-term road funding solution. Bonding is a short-term financing tool that adds to our state debt and will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to pay off — taking valuable resources from other priorities.
“Last year, the governor walked out of the budget talks because we wanted to include a $400 million increase for local roads and bridges — funds she ultimately eliminated. I hope the governor will stay fully engaged in the budget process this time around.”