LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 State of the State address:
“It was interesting to hear the governor’s priorities for the new year. A lot of what she mentioned throughout the speech are agreeable issues, we just need to focus on how we’re going to get there.
“The number one thing on everyone’s mind is roads. It was a major part of her campaign and a major part of the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in with last year’s budget. I remain opposed to raising taxes on hardworking Michigan families and am wary of any bonding proposals that will kick the can down the road and pass the bill to our kids. We’re still paying off bonds from the Governor Engler era.
“The governor’s threat to ‘not wait for the Legislature’ and pursue road funding solutions on her own doesn’t exactly set the stage for meaningful discussions, but I hope we are able to move past that and come up with a solution that benefits roadways across the state, not just those she picks and chooses. We’ve made major investments into our infrastructure in recent years, and even moved up some funding to get more projects completed. I would prefer to repurpose existing revenue before taxing hardworking families or delaying the cost with bonding.
“I appreciate her call for improving education and time and again I have voted to increase funding for schools across the state. I look forward to this year’s budget and will once again stand with our schools, teachers and students. My only hope is that my district and other rural communities are not red-penned out of the picture like last year.
“I would also like to see more work to continue narrowing the skilled trades gap. For years, the trades fell behind, and we are now facing a terrible shortage in skilled trades jobs because of that. We need to fill these jobs and continue getting people back to work.
“Lastly, I want to join the governor in calling for continued efforts to improve Michigan’s environment. Our state has led the nation in PFAS responses in recent years, and as chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality, I will continue working with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to maintain these initiatives and keep working toward having safe drinking water for Michiganders.
“I look forward to the governor’s budget presentation in the coming weeks and seeing her suggestions on how we can make Michigan better without raising taxes. We need to pin down this budget ahead of schedule, get our books in order, and continue building our historic comeback.”