Republicans Deliver $415 Million of Reform to State Budget

Niles Daily Star

September 27, 2010

Michigan House Republicans passed significant state employee retirement reforms with the passage and bipartisan negotiation of Senate Bill 1226.

SB 1226 offers a 1.6 percent incentive multiplier to entice eligible employees to retire and will require a 3-percent health benefit contribution from remaining employees. The plan will save the state a total of $415 million through 2013.

“Republicans in the House and Senate have saved Michigan taxpayers an additional $120 million from the Democrat proposal,” said Rep. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Our plan accomplishes the goals set at the beginning of this budget year, saving taxpayer dollars and balancing the budget without raising taxes.”

Proos noted that the state employees’ retirement package mirrors the teachers’ plan, and enacts a real reform that will make a difference in Michigan’s economic recovery.

SB 1226 passed the House 60-45 with unanimous House Republican support. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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Retirement Reform Saves State $415 Million

September 27, 2010

Michigan House Republicans last week led the way for real reform by sending a state employee retirement package to the Senate that will result in $415 million in savings for Michigan taxpayers over the next three years.

The bill offers a 1.6 percent incentive multiplier to entice eligible employees to retire and will require a 3-percent health benefit contribution from remaining employees. The plan will save the state a total of $415 million through 2013.

Republicans in the House and Senate have saved Michigan taxpayers an additional $120 million from the Democrat proposal.

Our plan accomplishes the goals set at the beginning of this budget year, saving taxpayer dollars and balancing the budget without raising taxes. This is the type of genuine reform needed to reduce government spending.

The state employees’ retirement package mirrors the teachers’ plan, and enacts a real reform that will make a difference in Michigan’s economic recovery.

Lawmakers are working to erase a $484 million deficit in Michigan’s 2011 budget.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Drivers Should Not Be Ticketed Twice

September 24, 2010

Legislation has recently passed the House of Representatives that would remove driver responsibility fines and fees in Michigan.

House Bills 4098, 4101, 4604 and 5603 are a package of bills that eliminate the $100 driver responsibility fee for drivers with seven or more points as of Dec. 31, 2009.  There is a lot of criticism toward the driver responsibility fee. People are frustrated with the amount of money charged for minor infractions and penalties. The package of bills would reduce the built up financial burden on drivers who are being unjustly punished by added additional fines and court costs.

The bills would not eliminate penalties and fines for serious offenses and reckless crimes such as driving while intoxicated or a crime resulting in death.

The driver responsibility fee tickets people twice. Michigan taxpayers have enough to worry about and don’t need the added cost of large fines for minor driving infractions.

The package was the end result of several earlier versions of legislation to eliminate driver responsibility fees.

The bills now go to Senate for consideration.

Proos Test Drives New Chevy Volt

WSJM

Andrew Green Reporting

State Rep. John Proos test-drove a Chevrolet Volt around the Capitol yesterday, and praised Southwest Michigan manufactures for their role in shaping the innovative battery system that powers the extended-range electric car.

State Representative John Proos got to test drive a Chevy Volt this week. It’s the new battery-powered vehicle from General Motors that the governor also tried out recently. Proos tells us that the Volt could indicate the future of the automotive industry in Michigan, and he enjoyed the experience. He said he was impressed by the advanced technology that goes into the Volt. For example, Proos noted its regenerative battery system.

He also said that it felt the same as driving a regular car once certain settings were applied. GM is expected to launch the Volt in November.

Remembering September 11, 2001

America is unique because it is the only country that was built on the idea of freedom; the freedom to worship, to own property, to vote, and the freedom to have a voice. When our great nation is challenged we become unified and rise to whatever is necessary to help preserve liberty because doing so is a part of our culture.

Every Sept. 11, we relive the horrific tragedy and the images of the brutal attack. We are reminded that freedom comes at a high price.

Americans come together on Sept. 11 to honor the lives of the men and women lost nine years ago. My prayers and condolences go out to all their families. The enormous sacrifices and extraordinary heroism shown that day by our police officers and firefighters deserve the heartfelt appreciation of a country to which they gave so much. Because of these patriots and all the brave soldiers, veterans and public servants that have risked their lives, our country’s freedom is ensured.

Our pride must remain strong because we are still engaged in a war against extremist ideology and hate, but we are secured in knowing that Americans are in this together.
In honor of the lives lost Sept. 11, 2001, and all of you who have sacrificed to protect this community, I commend you for your courage and dedication. I thank all of you for your service to our state and country for you truly make America “Home of the Brave”.

Rep. Proos Addresses Crunch to get State Budget Balanced

WNDU

Michigan has taken a big step forward in easing budget woes. On Thursday, Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill that transfers more than $200 million from a school aid fund surplus into the state’s general fund, which is facing a $300 million deficit this fiscal year.

But lawmakers still need to get rid of a deficit of about $484 million for the budget year beginning on October 1st and they have less than a month to do it.

Michigan Representative John Proos says it’s their constitutional duty to pass a budget by that date.

“It seems like we’re here every year, right down to the last moments; it happens in Indiana, too, so it’s not that unusual that it happens in Michigan,” Proos said. “We certainly have had our share of bad news in the last decade; nearly a million jobs lost, 500 thousand residents from Michigan have left our state–we know that has created some significant problems with Michigan’s budget.”

When it comes to the transfer of cash from the school aid fund to the general fund, Proos says it does not put education in jeopardy.

“The school aid fund is separate from our general fund and there’s about a $370 million surplus into there based upon projected revenues. So that’s good news– that means more people are spending money, with their sales tax revenues helping support our school aid fund. But our general fund revenues are down. That still means that Michigan’s economy is not rebounding the way that we want it to and we’re not seeing the successes of job growth that we would hope to see in our state where we would then see both of those funds do much better. We have to have a balanced budget and with now just a couple of weeks left, we would be facing layoffs and huge challenges to balance the current fiscal year budget.”

Proos said that the general fund will later repay the school fund that money. To hear more of his interview click on the video link above.