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Gov. Whitmer lays out first budget proposals

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has released her first budget recommendations for the upcoming 2020 Fiscal Year.

And the governor says her budget is focused on solving her three main priorities, fixing the roads, cleaning up drinking water and improving paths to high-wage careers.

Whitmer's budget recommendation totals $60.2 billion, which is a 3.6% increase over the 2019 Fiscal Year. The General Fund would be at $10.7 billion and the School Aid Fund would come in at $15.4 billion.

For the roads, the budget includes three 15-cent gas tax increases, with the first being on October 1, 2019 and the final being on October 1, 2020. The increases would generate $2.5 billion in new revenue according to the governor, which would be deposited into a new Fixing Michigan Roads Fund. This fund would be allocated to the most highly travelled and "commercially important" roads. Whitmer says that there would also be tax relief in the budget for lower income families.

“We have the worst roads in the country, and I am proposing a plan that will permanently fix our roads while keeping the costs fair for seniors and low-income families,” said Whitmer in a press statement. “I know this won’t be easy, but with one historic vote we can make the investments that are necessary to finally start fixing the damn roads.”

The governor is also proposing $15.4 billion for K-12 schools with $507 million in additional investments.  The budget recommendation also expands the Great Start Readiness Program with $85 million to make preschool programs available to more students and to improve the current programs. It also includes $24.5 million to triple the number of literacy coaches to increase early literacy initiatives.

Michigan colleges and universities would also get a 3% increase in funding and tuition restraints would be set at 3.2%. Cyber schools would see a reduction in foundation allowance by 20% because they don't require the same resources and funding as traditional schools. The Michigan Reconnect Program would continue into 2020 with another $50 million to help those seeking training or certification in specialized careers.

Other bullet points of the fiscal year 2020 Executive Budget Recommendation include:

  • $13.9 million General Fund in the Health and Human Services budget to enhance monitoring of and responsiveness to the human impacts of emerging public health threats, including contaminated drinking water.

  • $4 million General Fund to support the expansion of the Double-Up Food Bucks program from 65 counties to all 83 Michigan counties. Double-Up Food Bucks is a program which provides a dollar for dollar match up to $20 per day for those on food assistance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables produced by our state’s farmers.

  • $8.6 million General Fund for multiple investments in our foster care and child welfare system to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable children and keep them together with their parents when possible.

  • $10.5 million General Fund to support a corrections officer academy with an expected graduating class of 408 to address higher than anticipated attrition.

  • $4.5 million General Fund to support the purchase of 6,619 new electronic tether devices to improve the supervision of offenders for the Department of Corrections, as current tether devices will no longer function after this year.

  • $8.6 million General Fund to support a new trooper recruit school with the anticipation of graduating 50 new troopers, maintaining Michigan State Police enlisted strength at approximately 2,100.

  • $14.1 million General Fund for the Michigan Public Safety Communications System to enhance operation of the secure communications network utilized by the state’s first responders at both the state and local levels.

  • Revenue sharing increases of 3 percent for counties and for cities, villages, and townships to support the operations and revitalization of local governments. Including constitutional payments, total revenue sharing payments are projected to increase by over $40 million.

  • $2.3 million General Fund to continue testing and research on Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan’s deer population.

  • $450,000 General Fund for the Judiciary to expand online dispute resolution services from 16 counties to all 83 counties.

  • $1.4 million General Fund for a three-year project to inventory hazardous materials pipelines that cross waterways in Michigan.

  • $9.6 million General Fund to carry out functions related to the passage of proposal 2, which creates an independent citizen redistricting commission for state legislative and congressional districts, and proposal 3, which establishes several key voting rights.

  • $52.9 million General Fund for 14 information technology projects to improve government operations and services to residents of the state, including projects to improve tax systems, permitting activities related to clean air and water, licensing and inspection systems, and in-car video streaming for State Police troopers to enable real-time data sharing.

  • The budget plan also calls for nearly $100 million in reductions across all departments, creating savings that are better utilized to fund the core priorities listed above.

A new supplemental budget was also requested for the current year to include $120 million for drinking water infrastructure, which includes line replacements and research and treatments of PFAS contaminates.

The budget proposal repeals the "retirement tax". The lost revenue will be made up by a "pass-through" tax on business entities.  The budget also makes a $150 million deposit into the state's Rainy Day Fund.

We'll have more from Lansing on later editions of FOX 17 News.

 

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16 comments

  • Common cents

    The state tax on unleaded gasoline will increase from 19 cents to 26.3 cents per gallon on New Year’s Day— the first state gas tax hike in 20 years. It is part of a long-debated plan to patch up the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, eventually adding $1.2 billion a year in what Gov. Rick Snyder has called the largest investment in half a century in Michigan’s transportation system.

    Michigan will have the fifth highest at-pump tax rate in the nation next year, according to The Tax Foundation. The ranking includes the new 26.3-cents-per-gallon gas tax plus the 6 percent sales tax, which the state applies to fuel purchases but does not use to maintain roads.

    Michigan’s combined tax rate will total about 37.8 cents per gallon, according to The Tax Foundation, trailing Pennsylvania, Washington state, Hawaii and New York. It doesn’t include the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents a gallon. Only the state gas tax revenue will go toward road and bridge repairs.

    “I don’t like it, but I will have to live with it,” said Rachel Gomillion of Royal Oak, who was filling up her gray Suburban sport utility Wednesday morning at the Royal Oak BP at 11 Mile and the Interstate 75 service drive. “We have terrible roads.”

    Gomillion said she has family up north whom she, her husband and her four daughters like to visit. But she said she will now monitor her spending to make up for the gas tax hike, perhaps visiting her relatives once a month for a longer time rather than going up there twice a month.

    Owners of diesel vehicles will see their state taxes increase for the first time in 33 years, with that 15-cent-per-gallon tax rising 11.3 cents to the same rate levied on regular gasoline.

    Fees levied annually to register cars, vans, light trucks and commercial trucks will rise 20 percent. The average fee statewide is $120, so the average increase would be $24 to $144, said Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams.

    • Common cents

      This was the last gas tax hike just a couple years ago that was supposed to fix our roads. What does the government do with our money? Where do all the gas taxes go for the hundreds of millions collected on gas going into boats, pwc, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, dirt bikes, quads, side by sides, etc….?

    • Germaine

      A 45 cent/gallon gas tax increase IN ONE YEAR will likely cause a general riot. If not, it should. The Flint water fiasco would have never happened if the cheapskates running Flint had not decided to stop buying Detroit municipal water, and start drinking water out of the caustic Flint River. Detroit water is in the top 5 cleanest water cities in the nation. Where is the lottery money going? Wasn’t it supposed to go to the schools? A large part of the draw to bring lottery into Michigan was that it will completely fund K-12 schools in the state. What happened? They lied to us again, that’s what happened. At least now we can smoke weed without going to jail, and forget about how much they are screwing us over……….

  • Fish

    I hope she was laughed off her podium! Here comes another big wave of people leaving the state! Then they will raise taxes again rinse and repeat until nobody lives in Michigan. Way to go witchmore!

  • steve

    The gas tax will be implemented in three steps. I didn’t hear a word about it ever being eliminated. Imagine that.

  • Justin Case

    $8.6 million General Fund to support a new trooper recruit school with the anticipation of graduating 50 new troopers, maintaining Michigan State Police enlisted strength at approximately 2,100.

    This seems like a huge overspend! Money could be well used elsewhere.

  • Bighorse

    1) Will electric vehicles be taxed for their use of the roads? Or will they get a pass in addition to being subsidized?
    2) Does the “every dollar collected will go to the roads” mean we can stop wasting money on bike paths that seldom if ever used?

  • xphile01

    this is madness ….im not paying the highest gas tax in the country … she lied to us … she said no to a gas tax during the debates

  • Carlos

    When Bill Schute accused her of wanting to raise gas tax 20 cents, she said that is ridiculous. Now we know why. It was really 45 cents.

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