Legislator: Billions in savings tee up possible tax cut
State Rep. Julie Alexander today voted to support Michigan students by approving a school aid budget that provides equal foundation funding for Michigan students and increases resources for special education.
The plan will fund education for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1 of this year. Overall, the Legislature saved billions of dollars for possible tax relief.
“Representing our Jackson community is both a privilege and a responsibility, and I do not take my duties lightly — especially when it comes to handling taxpayer resources,” said Alexander, R-Hanover. “Our plan saves billions of dollars that belong to the people of Michigan — so we can offer tax relief to the people.”
Alexander, a former public school teacher, praised the school aid budget, which allocates a record $19.6 billion to support education for Michigan students. After last year’s budget provided schools with equal per-pupil foundation allowance funding for the first time, the new plan increases the amount of each grant from $8,700 per student to $9,150. The Great Start Readiness Program for at-risk preschoolers will also receive $9,150 per child. Increased investments will support special education, bringing the total to $1.92 billion, and additional help for at-risk students, a total of $747.5 million. Keeping students safe remains a top priority, with $168 million for school safety grants and $25 million for school resource officers. Other funds will help support student mental health.
Alexander also pointed out a $52 million learning loss grant program, which will be distributed through school districts to help Michigan students struggling academically after school closures during the pandemic. Previously, Alexander proposed a learning loss grant program that would provide more flexible funding directly to families to pay for tutoring and other support services. The House failed to approve the plan earlier in June.
“My plan would have provided families flexible grants to help them find the best educational supports for their students,” Alexander said. “I was disappointed my proposal did not pass the House. Now, although the funding is not as flexible and family-centered as my plan, I am glad that our budget will help students recover academically.”
Strategic investment, saving, and debt reduction in the budget will conserve resources entrusted to the state by Michigan residents. The plan preserves billions of dollars that can be used to offset relief for Michigan taxpayers. Already this year, the Legislature has approved multiple bipartisan tax relief plans — a gas tax pause and two proposals for income tax relief — but the governor vetoed all three efforts. A $180 million deposit will bring the balance of the state’s “rainy-day fund” above $1.5 billion. The plan puts down a total of roughly $2.6 billion to reduce the debt of public retirement systems, including for local government employees, educators and school staff, and the Michigan State Police.
The school aid budget, contained in Senate Bill 845, now advances to the governor, who is expected to approve it.
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