Lauwers opposes budget relying on income tax increase and raiding teacher retirement fund

Lauwers opposes budget relying on income tax increase and raiding teacher retirement fund

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, issued the following statement after Lansing Democrats voted to approve a state budget built on taking $670 million out of the state’s teacher retirement fund and increasing personal income taxes by $700 million:

“Families across the state have been forced to tighten their belts and cut spending to deal with across-the-board cost increases, yet when it comes to the state budget, Democrats continue to swipe the state’s credit card with no regard for when it’s time to pay the bill.

“Last year, we had a $9 billion surplus that could have funded state priorities for years to come. Instead, the current majority blew through this surplus that took a decade to save up in one single budget cycle, and as we face the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, we don’t have a $9 billion cushion, but the out-of-control spending continues on as if we did.

“Now, as Democratic leadership scrambles to come up with the money to be able to balance the books, the only solution that was put on the table was shamelessly going to taxpayers and asking the people to bail them out of their ill-advised, partisan overspending. It’s concerning that the only solution was increasing taxes and robbing the retirement funding that was promised to teachers — cutting spending was never on the table or even considered.

“Because of this drastic overspending, the Democrat-sponsored budget fails to increase per-pupil spending for the first time since I was elected 12 years ago, fails to adequately fund road and infrastructure improvements — a key promise from the governor — raids the already underfunded teacher retirement fund to the tune of $670 million, cuts student safety and mental health funding, and gives away taxpayer money to corporations — all while casting aside the true needs of Michigan families.

“After very clearly seeing the results of these thoughtless tax and spend policies of the lost decade, the Democrat majority is doubling down on the same exact policies that got us there in the first place and running on nothing but hope that it doesn’t happen again.

“The key to responsible budgeting is living within your means, and this budget simply does not do that. I voted against this budget plan because it continues overspending while failing to make sure the state’s needs are met or the bills are paid. The proposed budget put in front of us ignored bipartisan recommendations, and final details were only available moments before we were expected to vote on them.

“The reality is we shouldn’t even be in a position where we need an income tax increase or to steal from our teachers’ retirements to fill gaps caused by overspending. This is a breakdown in both leadership and common sense.”


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