Give the Gift of College Education this Christmas

Proos_Teaching at SMCEarning a college degree is the best thing a person can do for a successful career. It opens doors to opportunities for getting a good job, making more money and enjoying a high quality of life.

The difference in lifetime earnings between college and high school graduates is the largest in history. On average, individuals with bachelor’s degrees will earn $1 million more during their lifetime than workers with only high school diplomas.

Southwest Michigan residents can help a child’s chance for a long and successful career by giving them the gift of higher education.

There are two different college savings plans to choose from. The Michigan Education Trust (MET) is a prepaid plan that guarantees tuition and fees at Michigan public colleges while the Michigan Education Trust Plan (MESP) is a savings plan that allows families to save for tuition, room and board, and more. Both plans provide tax-free growth and a state income tax deduction for Michigan taxpayers.

People who want to donate to a child’s MESP college savings plan as a gift this holiday season will have an easier time under a new e-gifting program. It allows account holders to send friends and family a pre-written email that directs them to a page where they can give $25 or more to the child’s account.

Residents wishing to give and those wanting to set up an account for their child should visit the plan’s website at http://www.misaves.com. Click on “Give a Gift” to access more information.

The site allows gift-givers to print a gift certificate to give to the child.

I encourage Michigan families to consider giving the gift of education. It is easy to do and it’s a gift that can help open the door to a world of opportunities for a loved one.

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Senator Proos: Roadwork Funding a Priority

WSJM – Radio

Michael Arney Reporting

State lawmakers remain on break until early next week, and are getting the chance to get back out in the communities where they serve. State Senator John Proos joined WSJM’s Pat Moody Tuesday morning and tells us a lot of work remains before the end of the year in Lansing.

Governor Snyder had proposed doubling fees for vehicle registrations to pay for roadwork, with that idea going nowhere. Proos has floated the idea of passing a law to ensure the money paid in fuel taxes goes where it was intended, which is roadwork.

Hunting Season is Underway

Dowagiac HuntersHunting is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Our great outdoors offers something to interest every type of hunter — helping Michigan attract more hunters than any other state.

Our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in Michigan’s economy and way of life, and I will continue to protect your hunting rights.

Deer firearm season has begun, and I want to pass along some useful information and urge all hunters to hunt with safety in mind.

The regular firearm season from Nov. 15-30 is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan.1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 6-22; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Hunters can use Mi-HUNT on the website to create and print customized maps on 7 million acres of public lands. Residents can also buy hunting licenses online 24 hours a day at: http://www.mdnr-elicense.com.

With firearm deer season underway, I offer two reminders. First, please hunt safely. Most hunting injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking.

Second, remember the impact of poachers on the sport and on the herd.

I supported recent bills to preserve the hunting experience by toughening penalties for trespassing on private property and for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck.

By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Happy hunting! I hope everyone has a safe and successful season.

Proos: $440 Million Surplus “Great News”

WSJM – Radio

Jason Scott Reporting

Fiscal experts report revenues are exceeding projections, putting the state of Michigan in the black by $440-million. State Senator John Proos says this is great news, but also asks “where should the state spend it?”

Proos says the better than expected revenue number means efforts to revitalize Michigan are working, and the state remains fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.

Balanced Budget Amendment is Simple Common Sense

ChamberThe national debt is $17.1 trillion, or more than $54,000 per person. It is increasing by more than $2.6 billion per day and is expected to equal the country’s total annual economic output in 25 years.

Yet, even with America facing a $750 billion deficit in 2014, the federal government shut down this year because Washington leaders refused to stop spending money we don’t have.

That is why the Michigan Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution V to officially petition Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Nineteen states have already approved the resolution. Once adopted by 15 more states, it becomes binding on Congress.

A balanced budget amendment would force Congress to cut up the national credit card, spend tax dollars more efficiently and hopefully begin reducing the nation’s debt burden.

I co-sponsored the resolution because it’s about time the federal government did what Southwest Michigan families and job providers do every month: live within their means. Michigan has a balanced budget because we followed the example of our families and made the tough choices needed to make ends meet; so should Congress.

Another way for Michigan to ensure fiscal responsibility would be to implement a two-year state budget.

I sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 to have us do two-year budgeting because it gives schools and local governments the budgetary certainty they need and allows lawmakers to focus more time on improving the economy and reducing spending.

In the end, both these measures are about putting some common sense into federal and state budgeting.

Proos Votes for Federal Balanced Budget Amendment

ChamberWKZO – Radio

The Michigan Senate last week voted in favor of a resolution calling on Congress to hold a constitutional convention to introduce a new balanced budget amendment. 19 other state legislatures have made such a call so far, and if 15 more hold such a vote, then Congress would have to act.

State Senator John Proos says it only makes sense that there be a mandate for a balanced budget. He says that the average household has to budget itself responsibly, so why not the federal government?

The resolution now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration. Critics of a balanced budget amendment say that it would be practically impossible to follow, and tie the government’s hands in times of trouble.

Supporting America’s Veterans

Veterans Day 2013America is the example of liberty in the world because we remain the home of the brave. Let’s never forget that the willingness of young people to serve is largely reflective of how we treat those who already served.

Saluting our veterans is about showing our appreciation for their service and ensuring America always has patriots committed to her defense.

The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation supporting our honorably discharged veterans by allowing them to use certain military training and experience toward professional licensure as an EMT, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder.

The bills build on previously enacted laws for licensing as a security guard, commercial driver and journeyman electrician or plumber.

The reforms recognize that military training is rigorous and worthy of counting toward comparable jobs in the civilian workforce.

We owe our freedoms to the men and women in uniform who put their nation before themselves. This is a common-sense way we can help them find work when they return home.

I am hopeful that the bills will be signed before Veterans Day, a time reserved for us to honor the enormous sacrifice and selfless dedication of our veterans. While the sacrifice made by them and their families is a debt we can never fully repay, these reforms are a real, meaningful way to express our gratitude.

I look forward to taking part in tributes throughout Southwest Michigan to thank our veterans for their commitment to liberty.

I also encourage area residents to take a moment this Veterans Day weekend to tell a veteran how much you appreciate their service.