In this E-news:
Tele-Townhall a success!I recently held a telephone townhall on jobs and the economy and am pleased to report that it was a success! Thousands of 31st District residents participated in a discussion on a wide range of issues and offered their input on four survey topics.
It is clear from the survey results below that they believe jobs should remain our top priority and that they expect Lansing to live within its means and get more value out of the taxpayer dollars they already have. I agree.
What industry do you feel is most important to the economy of the Bay area and the Thumb?
Do you support eliminating the PPT on business equipment to encourage expansions and investment?
How do you believe Michigan should address the state of its transportation infrastructure?
Do you support special tax credits for movie production companies, battery manufacturers, or renewable energy operations?
I look forward to future townhalls like this on the many important issues facing our state! If you were unable to join us, please feel free to share your questions or concerns with me by calling (866) 305-2131 or by visiting my website www.statesenatormikegreen.com.
Annual budget process is well under wayWe also recently wrapped up our initial budget work in the Senate and are on track to deliver a responsible, balanced state budget months ahead of previous years. Our budget plan is fair and holds government accountable to Michigan taxpayers. It eliminates wasteful spending and cuts bureaucracy.
At the same time, the budget protects and invests in vital state services such as public safety and education. We included a reasonable increase in the K-12 foundation allowance and funds to hire 180 new state troopers. We also tied some higher education funding to a cap on tuition increases - I strongly believe students and parents must have access to an affordable college education.
While our economy is improving, making government more efficient and ensuring we live within our means is critical to continued growth. That is why our plan features the same fiscal discipline we built into last year's budget, a key factor that led to an upgrade in Michigan's bond rating outlook.
The House of Representatives has approved their own budget bills, and differences in the Senate and House versions will be ironed out in conference committees. I will keep you updated on the progress.
Asian Carp Update: Army Corps moving aheadOne issue discussed at length during the townhall was the threat of the Asian Carp invasive species. Because the issue involves multiple states, federal action is urgently needed. I'm pleased to provide an update that is good news for Michigan.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that it will have proposals for preventing Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes by 2013, two years ahead of its original plan. A variety of groups, including Great Lakes states leaders and environmental organizations, had chastised the Corps for originally planning to take four years to complete a study and issue recommendations to Congress on a problem that is a real threat today.
I have co-sponsored a number of legislative measures to work with other states to address this problem and to urge faster federal action, including Senate Resolution 7, Senate Concurrent Resolution 18, and Senate Bills 508-510 which were signed into law in December 2011. With bipartisan support from the Michigan Legislature, Attorney General Bill Schuette also continues to work in federal court to force a real solution from the federal government.
Enjoy Michigan's 'Summer Free Fishing Weekend' June 9-10One reason I'm so passionate about preventing invasive carp is because they threaten Michigan's abundant aquatic resources which are critical to our ecosystem, our economy and our quality of life.
One powerful tool we can all use to preserve and protect these resources is awareness of their existence and their importance. Since 1986, Michigan has annually celebrated the Summer Free Fishing Weekend as a way to promote awareness and the sheer fun of fishing. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing go hand in hand.
I'd like to encourage everyone to enjoy this year's Summer Free Fishing Weekend scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10. On that weekend, everyone - residents and non-residents alike - can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing for all things related to this unique weekend and celebrate all the best that Michigan has to offer!
Office HoursOffice hours are an excellent opportunity for you to share your concerns with me or to request assistance from my office on matters involving a state agency. Please join me or my staff at these upcoming office hours:
Friday, May 18
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Vassar Municipal Building, City Council Chambers
287 E. Huron Ave. (M-15), Vassar
Friday, June 1
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Pere Marquette Depot, 1904 Room
1000 Adams St., Bay City