As we continue into March, let’s make sure that we continue to check in on our friends and family. After all, the pandemic is still going, even with vaccines and boosters widely available for everyone age 5 and older. That means we’re also still experiencing the mental health issues that come from isolation, the disruption to our lives and anxiety over an illness. Let’s be there for one another and make sure we stay healthy.
It has been a busy start to the year in Lansing, and I want to thank all of you for your continued correspondence with my office. Whether it be to share your thoughts on a particular bill or issue, to ask a question, or to advocate for something you want to see funded in the budget, we appreciate every call and email! My team is working tirelessly to respond to all of this correspondence, and we appreciate your patience!
As always, if our office can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
- Upcoming Time with Ranjeev
- 2022 State of the State Address
- Lansing Update
UPCOMING TIME WITH RANJEEV
Due to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, we will be meeting virtually for the time being.
During the virtual meet-up, you will be able to ask questions in the chat on any of the available platforms. We typically hold Q&A at the end of our virtual coffee hours. A huge benefit to virtual coffee hours is that if you are unable to join us, you can watch the archived video later at your convenience.
As we have said before, our office works hard to schedule these meet-ups at varying times, days and location formats (when in-person is possible) based on the feedback we receive from all of you. We will evaluate future coffee hours on a case by case basis after this, taking into consideration COVID-19 numbers and feedback from all of you.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Monday, Feb. 28, 6-7 p.m.
Livestreamed via YouTube and social media
2022 STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
On Feb. 9, Gov. Whitmer gave her fourth State of the State address, virtually from Detroit Diesel’s factory floor. Her speech was positive, optimistic and outlined numerous proposals for moving Michigan forward. Gov. Whitmer’s underlying message was clear: By working together — Republicans and Democrats — Michigan is going to win.
Gov. Whitmer proposed the largest spending plan in Michigan history, a $74.1 billion budget, fueled by a growing surplus and massive influx of federal pandemic relief funding.
A brief overview of the five major proposals the governor discussed include the following:
- Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Phasing out the tax on retirement income, including pension, IRAs and 401(k)s.
- Introducing an electric vehicle tax credit.
- Capping insulin costs.
- Providing additional funding for mental health professionals.
A few other proposals for the 2023 fiscal year include:
- $1.5 billion in retention bonuses for educators to address school staffing shortages.
- $500 million in corporate incentives to attract large-scale investments.
- $1 billion boost in transportation spending to help the governor fix more of the “damn roads.”
- $250 million to expand broadband access in Michigan.
- $500 million to improve water infrastructure across the state.
Additionally, the governor’s proposal includes a nearly 8 percent increase in K-12 education funding for next fiscal year, building on a historic spending plan that we worked to pass last year. The new $18.4 billion plan includes $580 million to increase the basic per-pupil funding allowance by $435 to $9,135. Additional dollars would be available to schools with more economically disadvantaged, special education and technical education students.
Additional funds for schools would go toward things like school safety, mental health care, and teacher recruitment and incentive programs.
I’m thankful for Gov. Whitmer’s continued leadership on the economy, small businesses and child care. Emerging from the pandemic has been a difficult endeavor, but the progress we’ve made over the past few years cannot be understated. We’ve seen Michigan once again become a hub for the future of the automotive industry with historic investments across the state. We’ve set the standard for addressing child care costs. And we’ve done all of this while supporting and uplifting the small businesses and hard workers that make Michigan what it is. I look forward to continuing to build upon this solid foundation to work for solutions that benefit all Michigan working families.
Now that the governor has given her budget recommendation, we move onto the next step in the process. The Legislature must put together its own form of a proposal, in the form of legislation. The budget cycle is a long process, and negotiations have only just now begun. Over the coming months, the governor and the Legislature will work out a final version of the budget. While I am not a member of the Appropriations Committee and will not vote on a budget until it comes before me on the House floor, I am a firm believer that budgets are a statement of priorities. And I will do everything I can to ensure that our shared values are upheld in the budget.
For more information on what was included in the governor’s budget proposal, you can visit here.
Bipartisan Task Force on School Safety
The MI House Bipartisan Task Force on School Safety is meeting regularly to hear from organizations, as well as policy and health experts, but we need to hear from our most important stakeholders: Michiganders!
To share your thoughts on legislative solutions, visit here.