Budget surplus: What should Michigan do with an extra $3B in fundsMay 22, 2022
May 24, 2022
LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Politically speaking, you’d think it’d be easier to reach a consensus with $3 billion on the table. But this election year, it isn’t that easy.
“Elections get more and more… stressful, less pleasant as time goes on,” Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah said.
On Friday, at the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, the Republican-controlled House and Senate along with the Democratic administration agreed on the surplus.
In some ways, the cost of high-stakes politics just went up.
Outside of the Lansing political bubble, we all have ideas about where the extra money needs to go.
“Fix the roads, build the communities. You know there’s a lot of schools that shut down,” Southfield resident Sam said.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants a $500 tax rebate, with cash going back to working adults or working couples. But how—has not been made clear.
She also wants to spend $280 million for tutoring and personalized education in K-12 schools. Her goal, to get kids back on track.
Sara Rizk has two sisters who are public school teachers, and she thinks some of the money should help them.
“They said it’s been really hard over the past couple of years with COVID and everything and not having enough budgets to get supplies and everything they need,” Rizk said.
“The governor and the Legislature both seem to be interested in increasing road funding without raising taxes and I’m happy to see that because I think lawmakers should get to the point where we’re putting roads back together faster than they’re falling apart,” Hohman continues.
In February, the governor proposed longer term tax cuts, rolling back the retirement tax and increasing the earned income tax credit.
This is similar to a Republican plan and what has passed in the Senate along party line votes like:
- Cut state income tax
- Increase earned income tax credit
- Provide a child tax credit
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference also covered the serious issues of inflation and economic uncertainty.
The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce supports putting a half billion dollars into the state’s rainy day fund. Its Mackinaw Policy Conference is back next week on Mackinaw Island and state leaders could broker a deal.
“I think a deal is possible,” Hohman said. “Because one, money solves a lot of problems in government and the fact that there is so many dollars sloshing around right now, as long as the tax cuts that are coming are targeted and are responsible.”
State lawmakers and the governor would like to have a budget deal by the end of June, but they actually have until October, which is the first the start of the new fiscal year.