LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 State of the State address:
“While I was pleased to hear many of the issues the governor discussed being issues we can agree upon, I can’t help but look back one year at the same optimism I felt during her 2019 speech.
“My hope is that we are able to put last year’s budget behind us and move forward, making Michigan a better place to live, visit and do business.
“This starts with listening to the voice of the people. We heard their concerns when working to reform Michigan’s highest-in-the-nation auto insurance and it’s time to listen to their voice when it comes to fixing our roads.
“I joined residents from my district and across the state in opposing the governor’s massive tax increase as a way to solve the problem. I have similar reservations about the bonding proposals that have been circulating news outlets lately. While all ideas are currently on the table, I have some concerns about passing the burden to future generations. I would prefer to focus on repurposing current state spending to come up with a more sensible road funding solution.
“Michigan’s resurgence from the lost decade was due largely to responsible budgeting. For years, the Legislature and governor approved the state budget well before the beginning of the fiscal year, and I hope we can once again do so in 2020. We need to focus on sound budgeting that funds our state’s most important programs without worrying about looming vetoes and administrative transfers — especially ones that disproportionately affect my district and rural communities across the state.
“I do agree with the governor that we need to continue funding education as we prepare students for their futures. We need to ensure all of our students know their options when preparing for their careers. I have voted to increase education funding year after year as we work to meet the needs of modern students. I have also supported measures aimed at encouraging students to explore careers in the trades. Michigan’s workforce is starving for skilled workers and I will continue to support efforts that get more people back to work.
“We’ll once again begin another budget process next week, and I hope we are able to work together to come up with a product that benefits all Michiganders. We need to work together, get our finances in order, and get done what we were elected to do.