LANSING, Mich. — The state of Michigan’s fiscal year 2024 budget was recently signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“Throughout the process, I had concerns and reservations about supporting such a drastic increase in state spending,” said Sen. Roger Hauck, R-Mt. Pleasant. “Unfortunately, the budget was going to pass with or without my vote. I voted against the budget because I could not support the massive increase in irresponsible spending or the backroom, secretive process with which it was carried out.
“However, knowing it was going to pass anyway, I chose to be involved and fought to secure some important 34th District projects to try and make the best of a bad situation.”
Hauck was able to secure funding for the following projects:
- $700,000 to make critical repairs to the Barryton Dam and build a fish ladder.
- $5,000,000 to improve traffic flow and increase safety measures at the U.S. 127 interchange in Ithaca.
Hauck did, however, vote in favor of the 2024 education budget, which was also recently signed into law. The education budget is responsible for funding for K-12 education, the state’s 15 public universities and all local community colleges.
“While I was unable to support the state’s general omnibus budget, I was happy to vote in favor of the school aid budget,” Hauck said. “The education budget includes a per-student funding increase and more money for schools to set students up for success. The measure also seeks to reel in out-of-control tuition increases at state universities and make college more affordable.”
Hauck said one of the more important things he was able to work to secure was a massive funding boost to help pay down liabilities in the higher education retirement system.
The Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System is responsible for funding the retirement for public schools and seven of the state’s higher education institution retirees — and the state has been paying down this liability in recent years. The 2024 education budget included additional funds that nearly eliminates the unfunded liabilities in the MPSERS system.
“Making these payments ensures promises to retirees are kept. People budgeted their entire working lives, and we need to make sure they get what they were promised and what they are owed,” Hauck said. “Paying down the MPSERS liability reduces long term debt, secures the financial future of state retirees, and allows schools to focus their state appropriation dollars on strengthening their academic programs and growing opportunities for students.”