Jim Stamas

Michigan state Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, in a file photo.

(The Center Square) – The GOP-dominated Michigan Senate approved 14 budget bills that aim to provide $2 billion in tax relief in the fiscal 2023 budget amid 40-year high record inflation.

Senate Bills 827-843 were welcomed by Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland. 

“A budget is a statement of priorities – and this budget plan prioritizes educating our children, improving our economy and supporting families struggling with increasing costs,” Stamas said in a statement. “The Senate’s budget plan increases K-12 education funding by $862 million and once again sets a record for K-12 school support, invests nearly $2 billion into local roads, and creates a new scholarship program to help community college and university students – while also setting aside $2 billion to provide tax relief to all Michigan families.”

Earlier this year, Stamas noted that Michigan's 2009 budget was $48 billion and has grown in 13 years by $26.1 billion.

“Instead of simply increasing the size of state government, we should focus on making government work better for the people of Michigan – and that is what this budget plan will do,” Stamas said. "It is the next step working with the House and governor on enacting a new state budget that improves our state, supports our people and lives within our means.”

SB 832 aims to invest $17.9 billion in K-12 education, an increase of $938 million from the current budget. The plan seeks to use $630.5 million to raise the minimum foundation allowance by another $450 to $9,150 per student. Another $70 million would help address learning loss.

Despite the funding boost, State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice says the GOP budget isn’t enough and doesn’t add funding for economically disadvantaged students and English learners. He wants a $1 billion fund for school infrastructure.

SB 842 would provide a nearly $996 million increase for higher education, including an 11% increase for university operations and $581 million to pay off Michigan Public School Employment Retirement System's unfunded liabilities.

The plan invests $361 million for a new Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which would cover up to $3,000 annually at a community college or $6,000 annually at a university. Students could spend the scholarship at public or private colleges, community colleges, and qualified private training institutions.

The total $73.8 billion state budget plan aims to:

  • $55 million for the Going Pro program for employee training grants.
  • $40 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to assist people seeking an associate degree or a trade certificate.
  • $41.7 million to improve access to dentists for low-income families.
  • $414.5 million to maintain the wage increase for direct-care workers.

The budget aims to train and hire 170 new Michigan State Police troopers and 800 additional corrections officers. It seeks to provide a $1 million increase for Secondary Road Patrol grants that help support emergency response and traffic enforcement on local county roads.

The bills head to the House of Representatives.

The GOP aims to push tax cuts to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has repeatedly vetoed GOP-pitched tax relief, including a gas tax cut and $2.5 billion of income tax relief

She prefers repealing giving targeted tax breaks via repealing the retirement tax, boosting tax credits for low-income families, and subsidizing electric vehicles. 

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.