Zorn supports balanced 2022 state budget plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn this week voted to support a Senate budget plan that provides critical services and increases support for important priorities like K-12 education and public safety.

“As conditions in Michigan slowly improve, this Senate budget plan is focused on doing what we can to support healthy families and communities while also building a stronger and healthier future for everyone in our state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Along with protecting the health of our people and energizing our economy, supporting our students is one of the most important investments we can make — and in this budget plan we’re continuing to direct record levels of support for our schools to teach our children.

“We are also putting a priority on fixing local roads, getting people back to work, supporting our direct care workers, and keeping our communities safe.”

Senate Bill 83 would invest $15.8 billion in K-12 education, an increase of $249 million. The bill would increase the minimum foundation allowance by $250 to $8,361 per pupil, dedicate an additional $20 million to assist students dealing with mental health challenges and boost preschool funding by $32 million to help reduce class sizes. It also dedicates $1.7 billion to help cover the costs of school employee retirement.

The 17-bill budget plan includes $72 million for competitive and need-based scholarships for higher education students, $40 million in the Going Pro program to provide grants to support employee training, $30 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college and training, $77 million to provide child care for more families, and $161 million for wage increases for direct care workers and front-line workers at child care institutions.

The bills prioritize more revenue sharing funding for local governments, more resources for state road and bridge construction, $2.2 billion for local transportation infrastructure projects, a 50% boost for grants to help struggling veterans with expenses, and a new program to incentivize local governments to reduce their long-term debts.

SBs 77 and 79-94 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration