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State budget forecast shows emphasis on education and infrastructure, not tax cuts

Education, public safety, and paying down the long term debt will be Governor Rick Snyder’s top priorities when he unveils his 2018 budget Wednesday.

Some Republicans in Lansing are really hoping to make some aggressive tax cuts this year. Especially since Michigan has a $330 million surplus in the budget.

But as Governor Rick Snyder gets ready to roll out his budget plan, he’s shying away from major tax cuts.

State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said tax cuts need to be balanced with replacement revenue, even though there is a hefty surplus.

“So he’ll talk tomorrow about some of the tax reforms that have already been made and that there is a lot of middle class tax relief already occurring in the state,” he said.

Still, Republicans aren’t giving up.

Representative Laura Cox is chair of the House committee that handles the budget. She said they plan to work with the Snyder administration to find room in the budget for income tax rollbacks.

“My goal has always been to keep more dollars into the families of the taxpayers of Michigan,” she said. “And I don’t want to increase government spending, that’s not going to be fruitful for everybody that’s back at home.”

Weiss said there will also be a lot of talk about fixing Michigan’s infrastructure.

“You’ll hear him talk about how he wants to pilot some programs in that area and you’ll see some money that he’s going to put toward that area as well,” he said. 

A continued investment in Flint and a plan for the city’s future is also on the agenda for Snyder and new Budget Director Al Pscholka’s budget presentation. Reports from the Associated Press also say Snyder plans to propose growing the state’s savings account to $1 billion. 

The 2018 budget takes effect this October.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R