Highlighting the governor’s budget proposal

Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday addressed a joint-hearing of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to unveil his proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

The governor’s budget plan reflects many Senate Republican priorities that have and continue to foster economic growth and prosperity for hardworking Michigan families.

Michigan’s economy continues to grow, and that has created a budget surplus. The governor called for additional investments into priority areas, including education, public health and safety, and infrastructure.

Senate Republicans have worked to invest more than $1 billion in increased state funding toward the education of our children over the past five years, and we have worked to expand programs that train and prepare students through career and technical education. We look forward to continuing those efforts to ensure Michigan’s students receive a quality education that prepares them for a future of success.

We have also taken seriously the responsibility of the health and safety of residents. In that effort, the governor’s budget proposed expanding the highly successful Healthy Kids Dental program to include all 83 counties and more than 826,000 children. The proposed hiring of 85 new Michigan State Police Troopers and 350 corrections officers will also help to keep our communities safe.

Michigan’s aging infrastructure needs improvement, and the governor proposed $165 million to improve infrastructure throughout the state. Senate Republicans are eager to work with the governor’s administration and legislative colleagues to find a way to address this growing concern.

The governor also proposed spending additional money for the city of Flint for its ongoing water issues and to help Detroit Public Schools with growing debt obligations.

We must find solutions that not only resolve the issues facing the people of Flint, but for all of Michigan. Ending the Flint water emergency is a top priority, and that is why the governor’s budget plan includes both immediate and long-term support for Flint and the residents impacted by the water crisis.

The governor’s proposed solution for how to deal with the Detroit Public School district’s financial problems is encouraging, and Senate Republicans pledge to continue to work on how best to reform the district so that its 47,000 children receive the quality education they deserve.

The governor’s budget proposal is a great starting point, and Senate Republicans, led by our appropriations committee members and subcommittee chairs, will begin the collaborative process to develop Michigan’s next state budget. Our caucus will proceed deliberatively and consider both the governor’s and House’s priorities, in addition to our own, and will work to produce another sound budget.

As has become the norm in our state, Senate Republicans look forward to approving the new budget well ahead of schedule to provide surety for local governments and school districts as they plan their own budgets, and to help continue our state’s turnaround.