Proos applauds governor’s budget plan

LANSING—After listening to Gov. Rick Snyder’s presentation of his proposed Fiscal Year 2014 state budget on Thursday, Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement: 

“The governor’s budget builds on the foundation of success laid down during the last two years and uses that firm footing to increase support for key Southwest Michigan priorities: education, harbor dredging and public safety.

“A lack of dredging in Michigan harbors is forcing ships to carry lighter loads, impacting their bottom lines and our economy. With the water level in Lake Michigan at a record low, harbors for recreational boating are also being negatively affected, and the governor’s plan recognizes the urgent need for action to maintain our vital ports, known as ports of refuge. I support all efforts to improve our ports of refuge, but we must remember that our recreational harbors are in great of aid need as well.

“I applaud the governor for increasing support for all levels of education, from preschool to college. Most important are a $272 million increase for K-12 education and raising the minimum per-pupil allotment to $7,000.

“I am especially pleased to see the commitment to career and technical education. I have long been a strong supporter of these programs as an alternative to the traditional college path. I have introduced Senate Bill 66 to help these programs flourish in our schools and look forward to working with the governor to educate students for successful careers.

“As chair of the appropriations subcommittees for corrections and judiciary, I am encouraged that this budget includes $15.2 million to train an additional 107 troopers to help meet a core function of government: keeping our communities safe.

“The governor’s plan also includes an additional $2 million for mental health courts and $3 million more to expand drug treatment courts and to pilot regional alcohol sobriety courts. This will provide for the maintenance of existing specialty courts while allowing for further expansion of successful programs, like the Swift and Sure Sanctions Program.

“As an illustration of the priorities in this budget plan, the total budget recommendation is $50.9 billion and 75 percent of it is dedicated to education and health and human services.”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”