Proos: Focus on roads

Lawmaker says more could be done as budget plan finalized

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized a Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan that increases support for education and roads and strengthens the state’s finances, Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement:

“I am proud to support a budget that continues our positive momentum of improving our state and attracting job creators and tourists to Michigan — while living within our means.

“This balanced, fiscally responsible budget supports vital services, improves government accountability, builds on our commitment to our schools and invests an additional $400 million — from existing revenues — into fixing Michigan’s roads.

“Prioritizing taxpayer dollars must be our focus. For example, $94 million is now expected to be deposited into our state savings account. I believe this money should instead be directed toward road construction and repairs. Fixing Michigan’s roads is and must be of the highest priority.

“This budget will increase funding for all levels of education, including a $209 million boost for schools. The budget includes more resources for career and technical education and pays down more than $1 billion in legacy costs, which will help schools put additional dollars into the classroom.

“As chair of the Senate Corrections budget subcommittee, I am happy that we achieved more than $60 million in savings while still protecting the public. Improving the cost-effectiveness of our corrections system frees up resources for critical priorities, such as improving our roads.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.

Senate Bill 133 contains budgets for principal state departments and the Judicial and Legislative branches. It reduces the state’s film credit, invests $4 million more into the Pure Michigan campaign and puts more resources into local revenue sharing and public safety.

House Bill 4115 is the omnibus budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $15.8 billion. The bill includes an additional $209 million for schools and a $217 million increase in state contributions — for a total of $994 million — to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2016 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.