Meekhof comments on FY 2017 budget presentation

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

LANSING— Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, issued the following statement today regarding Gov. Snyder’s fiscal year 2017 budget presentation:

“The Governor’s budget plan reflects many Senate Republican priorities.  Over the course of the past several years, we have made progress in Michigan by adopting policies and laws that fostered economic turnaround and prosperity for Michigan families.

Unfortunately, recent failures at all levels of government have resulted in the spotlight once again being turned on our state.  In the coming months, the Senate Republicans pledge to work with the Governor, leadership in the House and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle through the budget process to bring additional aide to Flint.  The Senate has already worked to pass more than $60 million in relief for Flint residents, but there is more work to be done.  The crisis in Flint points to the need for a statewide dialogue about maintaining and improving infrastructure so that our citizens have confidence in all levels of government to help deliver basic needs like safe water.  I am currently reviewing options for a statewide infrastructure plan for all communities.

The Senate Government Operations Committee will continue to hold hearings on the education and financial crisis in Detroit Public Schools.  In order for 47,000 children to receive a basic education, the state will work to resolve more than $500 million in debt.  I am encouraged by the Governor’s proposed solution for how to deal with the balance sheet and I am eager to continue to work on how to best reform the district so that the students of DPS have a reliable and sound education plan.

Over the course of the past few years, the Senate Republicans have supported more than $1 billion in increased funding for all students and we will continue to build upon our commitment to education in the next budget year.  Increases to the foundation allowance are necessary to ensure more dollars enter the classroom to improve every child’s education experience.  I am encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to continue to pay down retirement and benefit costs so that dollars are not siphoned out of the classroom, but instead are available for learning tools and classroom supplies.

My colleagues and I in the Senate have made commonsense career paths a priority.  The Governor’s desire to increase funding for universities and community colleges as well as money for technical and vocational training supports the Senate Republicans belief that education should be a pathway for each student to achieve his or her personal career goals.

The Governor’s plan echoes the Senate Republicans’ commitment to Michigan families by increasing funding for Healthy Kids Dental and providing additional resources for clothing allowances to better meet the needs of our most vulnerable children and families. Additional resources to increase public safety through the hiring of additional troopers and funds to deliver prescription medicines are in keeping with the Senate Republicans desire to keep our citizens safe and healthy.

The budget presentation begins a collaborative process between the legislature and the Governor.  The Senate will take time to review the specifics of this plan, communicate with our constituents, and begin the deliberative process of working through the budget and working with the House and the Governor to deliver a comprehensive plan for Michigan well in advance of our October 1st deadline.”