LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Tuesday voted in support of a fiscal year 2022 budget plan that funds high-priority projects for the state, as well as puts money away for the future.
“We’re still working to emerge from this pandemic and recover from the effects of the shutdowns, but the state is coming back strong,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “When I talk to people back home, the main focus is often on getting our economy going again, making sure our kids are getting the most out of their education and getting our roads and bridges repaired.
“Earlier this summer we approved, and the governor signed, record funding for K-12 education in Michigan. This bill picks up the remaining pieces of the budget with large-scale investments in bridge repairs and programs aimed at getting more Michiganders back to work to help jumpstart the economy.”
The Senate approved Senate Bill 82, which is a general omnibus budget that includes:
- $1.4 billion to lower rates and recruit more childcare workers;
- $190 million to repair or replace local bridges;
- $414.5 million to permanently increase wages for direct care workers;
- $40 million for the Going Pro program to support employee training;
- $55 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college and training;
- $33 million to train new state police troopers and corrections officers;
- $14.5 million to local governments to remove PFAS from the water; and
- $19 million to repair or replace local dams.
The bill also deposits $500 million in the state’s rainy-day fund and $150 million in the unemployment trust fund to help the fund recover from heavy caseloads and fraudulent benefit payments.
The budget also contains projects specific to Outman’s district, including dam upgrades and several local bridge repair projects.
“One of the major projects from my district is improvements to the dam at the Farwell Mill Pond,” Outman said. “Upgrading the dam will pave the way for road repairs and improve the safety of communities downriver.”
On Wednesday, the Senate is also expected to approve House Bill 4400, which includes increases for community colleges and public universities — a measure Outman considers critical to his district.
“I have an institution of higher education in every county in my district and I have been very supportive of getting these schools the resources they need,” Outman said. “We’ve made major investments in K-12 education and we need to follow that up with support at the post-graduate level as well.”
The senator also stressed the importance of getting this budget to the governor without any new tax increases.
“As a state, we’re not quite back on our feet yet, and it was really important that we didn’t saddle any new costs on the shoulders of Michiganders,” Outman said. “This budget does not raise taxes — we were able to get crucial needs and projects funded without passing on the burden to taxpayers.”
SB 82 and HB 4400 will go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature, which will complete the 2022 state budget if signed.