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After three years of pro-growth, fiscally responsible policies, the state of Michigan has turned a $1.5 billion deficit into a $600 million surplus. As we begin work on the state's FY 2014-15 budget I'll be working hard to ensure that the lion's share of the surplus goes toward fixing our roads, responsible education funding and identifying ways to provide tangible tax relief to the hard-working citizens that made this surplus possible.
Here are just a few of our current priorities:
Supporting Our VeteransAs Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veteran Affairs and State Police, I have worked with the departments to measure their progress toward identified goals and the effectiveness of their programs. One of our primary focuses has been on speeding up the delivery of benefits to our veterans. I am pleased to report that we are making good progress on this goal.
For example, we've gone from achieving only 4% of fully developed claims per year to 52% of fully developed claims and have dropped the average wait time for benefits from 2-3 years to 120 days or less.
In his State of the State speech, Governor Rick Snyder outlined some of the highlights of the first year of operation for the new Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency including:
Potholes and Transportation FundingThe harsh winter has caused extensive damage to many of our roads and drained funding from state, county, township and village road funds. The Senate recently approved $100M in supplement road funding to address short-term pothole fixing needs. Additionally, I have proposed a long-term funding strategy for fixing our roads. This strategy can be found online at Transportation Funding Strategy.
K-12 Education FundingThere is much confusion over the level of funding the state has invested in K-12 Education over the last several years. The chart below is from the non-partisan Senate Fiscal Agency and provides the best summary to date of what can be a complicated subject. I hope that it helps dispel the misinformation promoted by those who claim that we have cut education over the past three years.
While these highlight some of the bigger issues to come before the Legislature recently, there are many other bills being considered. To find information on a particular piece of legislation you can visit the Michigan Legislature site at: www.legislature.mi.gov. Also, please feel free to check out my webpage at www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com or follow me on Facebook via my Senator Patrick Colbeck page for more Legislative news and updates. You can also call my office toll-free at (866) 262-7307 or visit in person at one of my scheduled office hours in the district should you have any further questions.
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
(517) 373-7350 | SenPColbeck@senate.michigan.gov