LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Outman on Wednesday voted to approve the General Fund and School Aid budgets, which marked the Senate’s completion of the fiscal year 2024 budget.
“This is a Democratic-majority budget, there’s no hiding that. This was a difficult budget to negotiate but my colleagues, and I were able to secure a seat at the table and fight to include certain priorities, along with meaningful investments in communities around the state, including the 33rd District,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “We have an obligation to pass a budget, and without these negotiations, the only other option was to block the budget and shut down the government — which in that case, everyone loses, especially state taxpayers.”
Among the items included in the general omnibus budget is funding to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, support Michigan’s food banks, fix local roads, support for victims of crimes, and water and wastewater improvements. During negotiations, Outman successfully fought for funding to improve rural OB-GYN care, pay increases for direct care workers and corrections officers, and increased investments in behavioral health.
Outman was also able to secure funding for critical projects in the 33rd District. The Cherry Health Federally Qualified Health Center would receive funding to enhance operations at their Greenville site and additional dollars to complete much-needed road repairs in Sand Lake.
“Cherry Health provides wide-ranging medical care for families in my district, which is something rural communities typically struggle with. Locking down this funding and expanding access to medical care in the 33rd District was a major priority for me as the budget unfolded,” Outman said.
Outman also supported the School Aid Fund budget, which includes funding for the state’s K-12 schools as well as the state’s 15 public universities and all local community colleges. It includes funding for higher education retirement funds, a 5% increase in the per-pupil funding allowance, transportation assistance for rural schools, support for at-risk students, paying down higher education retirement obligations, and a tuition restraint to help families with the rising cost of higher education.
“There’s no such thing as a perfect budget. Everyone has different preferences and priorities — but what we passed here today is a budget that has a wide range of support from both sides of the aisle and highlights issues important to each of our districts and the state as a whole,” Outman said.