State fiscal leaders and economists recently met for the annual January revenue estimating conference and forecasted that Michigan’s economy will continue to improve, resulting in a projected budget surplus of $177 million for the new fiscal year.
I am pleased to see the revenue estimates came back better than expected and that the state’s economy continues to recover. They show that there is light at the end of the tunnel for hardworking Michigan taxpayers and that our efforts to revitalize our economy are working.
Job creation in Southwest Michigan is particularly good. Between January 2011 and November of last year, the unemployment rates in Berrien and Cass counties fell by more than four points each, and Van Buren County saw an unemployment rate reduction of more than six points. The average unemployment for the state is 7.9%.
Statewide, Michigan added jobs in 2011 for the first time in more than a decade and increased jobs in 2012.
More encouraging, it is projected that Michigan will add more jobs this year and next year. We are on the right path, but much work remains to be done for sustained job creation.
The conference’s economic and tax revenue projections are used to draft budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins Oct. 1. But it is important to remember that these are only projections.
There are many national and worldwide uncertainties that could impact our economy and state budget.
The surplus is great news, but it is hardly a winning lottery ticket. Now is not the time for a spending spree.
I believe we must be cautious and responsible with spending. That is why I will work to pass a budget that continues to save for a rainy day, improve government efficiency, pay off debt and invest in top priorities like education and public safety.