Lt. Gov. Calley on the proposed budget
Governor Snyder delivered his proposed budget for the next fiscal year yesterday and Lt. Governor Brian Calley was at his side. Calley presented the transportation portion of the administration's budget.
After the announcement, some critics noted there's not much of a backup plan if voters turn down a ballot proposal in May to increase road funding.
Calley says the backup plan is the status quo.
"The ballot initiative is the permanent, ongoing solution to our crumbling infrastructure and so we do need all hands on deck and for there to be a substantial effort to make sure that people understand that this is our shot to get it fixed," Calley says.
The state budget also faces a shortfall of $800 million for the next two years. That's because billions of state tax credits, awarded largely to Detroit's automakers during the Great Recession, are coming due. The credits were aimed at keeping plants and jobs in Michigan during the down economy.
Some argue it's actually a positive sign that these automakers are now cashing in on these tax credits. That's because they're contingent on the companies making new investments and hiring workers.
"So that's the silver lining on the budget dark cloud that we have to deal with now, that the credits are so big because that many more people have been hired and been hired at higher wages," Calley says.
Democrats were also quick to jump on the budget, saying it doesn't do enough to put money back into education. The budget does increase per-pupil funding by $75, but Calley says that’s only part of the plan.
A new initiative to provide resources for third grade reading, along with an increased focus on skilled trades, are also part of the governor’s focus.
"In skilled trades we are looking at a 75% increase. We believe that the state that leads in skilled trades will be the state whose economy leads the nation," Calley says.
Education is a clear priority in this budget, says Calley, and he's proud that at a time with overall revenue challenges the administration has still found a way to provide additional support for schools.