Gov. Snyder’s FY18 budget presentation: Where should we invest, and why?

Written by: Anna Heaton, Press Secretary for Gov. Snyder

Creating a budget framework is all about prioritizing — just like you and I decide how to spend our money, so must state government. These aren’t easy decisions. Just like taking your car to the shop for a new alternator is 400% less fun* than spending that money on a plane ticket to somewhere tropical, the state has to make tough decisions on spending but on a much larger scale — because it affects the lives of 9.9 million people.

Gov. Snyder’s 2018 budget proposal centered around several core priorities: education and talent development, making our communities safer, investing in statewide infrastructure and saving for Michigan’s future rainy days.

Education and talent development– Every year the governor has been in office, he has proposed and signed into law an increase for K-12 education. This year looks to be no different, as Gov. Snyder has proposed an additional $50-$100 per student, with $150 million proposed for at-risk students in Michigan’s public schools.

Skilled trades — When Gov. Snyder tours the state, whether he is visiting a family farm, a local chamber of commerce, a large employer or a school, he hears the same sentiment over and over: we need more people who are highly skilled in various trades to meet the growing talent gap. It has become very clear that if Michigan can step up and fill this demand, solid job growth will continue.

As we move toward having the most skilled workforce in the nation, Gov. Snyder proposed $40.9 million dollars for skilled trades training programs — including community college grants and apprenticeship programs, for a total of $470.9 investment in workforce development.

The education budget also contains $20 million for career and technical education equipment upgrades for high school students so they are learning how to use the latest and greatest technology and are prepared to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.

Stronger and safer communities — Our Michigan State Police troopers make for the best public safety organization in the country. They are devoted to their jobs and it shows. Because of investments over the past few years in hiring and training more troopers, some of Michigan’s largest cities have become safer from violent crime. And now, a proposed investment of $9.2 million can bring trooper strength to its highest level in the last 15 years. We are fortunate to have these courageous and respectful men and women serving in Michigan, and the more of them we have in our communities, the better.

Improving statewide infrastructure — Michigan’s roads and bridges suffer from severe under-investment. Making up for lost time costs a lot more than if there had been constant funding going into improvements over the last several decades. But with Gov. Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission having identified key concerns, we know that a $20 million initial investment, with money set aside for a Coordinated Asset Management pilot project to plan more efficiently, will put us on the road to recovery. In addition, with the legislative package signed in 2015, transportation funding for FY18 will total $2.7 billion.

Saving for rainy days — Michigan’s economy has been on the upswing for almost six full years now. We have enjoyed an extended period of strong growth. But as economic cycles tend to go, there are bound to be some days ahead that are not so bright. For that reason, Gov. Snyder is wisely suggesting a $260 million dollar deposit into our rainy day fund, which would bring its balance to a billion dollars. Check back next week for a new post about why these savings are so important for the state.

Now let’s talk more about buying that plane ticket to a tropical destination. Because of prior policy decisions that were made by Gov. Snyder and state lawmakers, many of Michigan’s residents will keep more of their hard-earned income thanks to tax cuts, credits and exemptions that take effect starting in 2018. These include repealing driver responsibility fees, eliminating sales tax on the difference (paying sales tax on a new vehicle minus the cost of a trade-in), expanding the homestead property tax exemption and repeal of the personal property tax. That’s a total of $2.1 billion in tax relief over three years for Michigan residents and job providers.

With all of this tax relief, it’s entirely possible Michiganders will able to better afford a vacation, squeeze in an extra tuition payment or car payment, or just save more for a rainy day. The bottom line is that if you prioritize, you can spend wisely and save wisely — even when you’re doing it for 9.9 million people.

For more information on the budget, check out mi.gov/mibudget.

  • May or may not be based on the personal experience of the author. Percentage of fun lost is estimated.