LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget presentation:
“Gov. Whitmer wants to risk passing along more debt to our kids so she can continue her unsustainable and taxpayer-funded spending spree.
“The governor blew through a $9 billion surplus by needlessly adding to the state employee payroll and expanding government programs. Now that the surplus is virtually gone and additional federal aid from the pandemic era has dried up, she’s desperate for money and looking for cash in all the wrong places. The governor wants to further burden taxpayers and threaten our children’s financial future to continue state government’s addiction to spending.
“She refuses to keep a lower personal income tax rate in place beyond 2023, planning to spend that roughly $650 million a year instead of allowing taxpayers to keep the money. And now she proposes raiding the school employee retirement system for $670 million instead of using it to pay off pension debt. Setting aside the question of whether this diversion of funds is even legal, it’s clearly irresponsible. We are starting to make significant progress paying off debt and improving our state’s finances for years to come — now is not the time to reverse course. Her plan would either put school retiree benefits at risk or force our kids to pay higher tax bills in the future. It’s wrong, reckless, and unfair.
“While there is minimal room for small, targeted and essential increases in the school aid budget, the governor is going far beyond that and spending previously obligated funds for non-essential programs. It is early in the budget process; however, and I am hoping some sanity is restored before the plan is finalized.”