Proos cautiously optimistic about ‘surplus’ projection

LANSING—State experts forecast Michigan’s economy will continue to improve and result in a projected $177 million surplus for Fiscal Year 2014, said Sen. John Proos.

“It is encouraging to see the revenue estimates come back better than expected and that Michigan’s economy continues to recover,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The budget surplus is hardly a winning lottery ticket, but it shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel for hardworking Michigan taxpayers. Now we must work to pass a budget that saves for a rainy day, continues to pay off debt and invests in Michigan residents.”

The announcement came after state fiscal leaders from the Senate, House and executive branch and economists from across the state met Friday for the annual January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference at the Capitol. Their economic and tax revenue projections are used to draft budget proposals for the next fiscal year, which will begin Oct. 1.

“Our efforts to revitalize our great state are working to energize our economy, especially in Southwest Michigan,” Proos said.  “In the last two years, the unemployment rates in Berrien and Cass counties fell by more than four points each, and Van Buren County saw an unemployment rate reduction of more than six points.”

From January 2011 to November 2012, Berrien County’s unemployment rate was reduced from 11.9 percent to 7.2 percent; Cass County’s rate dropped from 10.8 percent to 6.5 percent; and the rate in Van Buren County was reduced from 13.8 percent to 7.5 percent. Currently, the average unemployment for the state is 7.9 percent.

“Michigan added jobs in 2011 for the first time in more than a decade. The state also increased jobs in 2012 and is projected to add jobs this year and next year,” Proos said. “These are strong indications that we are on the right path, but much work remains to be done to create the environment for sustained job creation for the people still looking for work or underemployed.”

Proos noted that the report is only a projection and there are many national and worldwide uncertainties that could impact Michigan’s economy and state budget.

“While it is great news to see our economy improving and the state budget stabilizing, we must be cautious and responsible,” Proos said. “That is why I will continue to work to improve government efficiency, reduce our liabilities and invest in top priorities like education.”

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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.”