LANSING, Mich. — 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:
“I will always work to find common ground moving forward, but it is clear from the start the governor’s budget proposal does not do enough to best position Michigan for the future — either in the short-term or long-term. It’s an unsustainable spending plan that fails taxpayers and leaves our state unprepared. We can and must do better.
“The governor’s tax and budget plans must be considered together. The governor’s plan appears to include a trap for unsuspecting taxpayers — dangling a one-time ‘rebate’ gimmick instead of providing long-term tax relief that should continue year after year. I am concerned that the governor is trying to block the automatic income tax rate rollback that Michigan taxpayers need and deserve. If she is successful in that attempt, the governor will be forcing the equivalent of a tax increase upon Michiganders in future years — taking away long-term financial relief and damaging our economy. I also worry she is attempting to play a tax-related shell game that would take away money from hardworking Michiganders and redirect it to corporate welfare.
“We should do even more to boost state savings and pay down debt. We should hope for the best and plan for the worst — that is the financially responsible approach with any budget. There are continuing signs of economic weakness and we do not know how much the economy might worsen in the coming months or years. We cannot carelessly overspend — especially on ongoing programs — and put the state in a precarious position where cuts to essential services might be necessary if revenues come in below expectations. We do currently have billions of dollars in additional revenue on the balance sheet — but we must be smart about it and seize the opportunity to put our state in a better financial position moving forward. Instead, the governor proposes too much spending — dangerously reducing the state’s surplus by 97% in the process.
“I agree we must invest in what Michigan families and communities need to thrive and prosper. I support investing more in schools — with a continued emphasis on special education and safety. We will need to see more details of what the governor proposes, including the long-term costs and benefits, as the budget process moves forward. I also remain committed to improving infrastructure and other necessities for strengthening our state both today and for years to come — but it must be accomplished responsibly and sustainably.”