Proos Says Snyder Deserves Credit for Michigan’s Comeback

By Mike Arney

WSJM – Radio

Concussion Bill SigningFor the first half hour of Governor Snyder’s third State of the State address, he looked back on the progress the state has made over his time in office before launching into his 2013 goals. State Senator John Proos says Snyder can take a lot of credit for where the state is compared to what the Republican governor inherited.

Proos said in terms of Snyder’s top priority of coming up with more money for roads, there needs to be a bi-partisan solution. The governor has reportedly been shopping his plan to legislative Democrats to get their backing in the event he doesn’t have enough Republican votes to increase the amount of money we pay to register our vehicles, among other ideas. Proos says along with repairing the roads, US 31 needs to be finished, as southwest Michigan has waited long enough.

Advertisements

Reform Signed to Fix Michigan Roads Without Raising Taxes

Michigan has struggled every year to identify enough dollars to qualify for federal matching transportation funds, but not anymore. The governor recently signed my reform to fix this problem by dedicating $100 million already paid by consumers at the pump and investing it in the maintenance and improvement of our roads and bridges.

I believe Southwest Michigan families and job providers are already paying enough at the gas pump.

With a federal matching rate of roughly 4 to 1, I am proud to say that this new law will mean about $400 million in funding to ensure our roads are safe and protect drivers from costly repairs – without needing to raise gas taxes.

To further help drivers save money, I encourage residents to follow fuel saving tips, use tools to find the lowest gas prices and report price gouging to the Michigan attorney general. For up-to-the-minute listings of the lowest gas prices in Michigan, visit www.michigangasprices.com.

Residents may report price-fixing or gas-gouging to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-765-8388 or by visiting their website at www.michigan.gov/ag. Under the “Consumer Protection” tab is a link to “Gas Prices,” which offers valuable information on prices, fuel saving tips, travel tools and more.

As families head out on the road for that Pure Michigan summer trip, the cost of gas is a huge issue.

Thankfully there are great tools online to find the best price. It is also important to keep the price low by using fuel-saving tips and reporting gas price gouging. Taking advantage of consumers is never acceptable. If you see gouging, please report it.

Proos Says New Law Will Mean More Money for Michigan Roads

WSJM – Radio

State Senator John Proos is pleased that Governor Rick Snyder has signed some road funding legislation that he sponsored. Proos says that his plan would require that all money collected by Michigan’s gasoline tax be put into the state’s road fund. That, he says, will ensure that the state gets all of the federal matching funds it needs for road projects.

Proos says that the law will ensure that about 100 million dollars collected in gas taxes goes specifically to road projects, rather than the state’s general fund. With the federal match, it would mean about 400 million dollars for transportation in Michigan.

Finalized State Budget Focuses on Living Within our Means

Michigan has once again enacted a balanced, fiscally responsible budget before July that supports vital services and improves accountability in government.

The 2013 budget addresses our long-term debts and funds priorities, while also making the state live within its means – just as Southwest Michigan families do every day.

Most importantly, the budget focuses on making the tough, but right decisions to revitalize our state. It builds on the reforms we made to energize our economy and improve our jobs climate. Those changes are already producing results in less unemployment, more jobs, reduced debt and positive economic growth.

Michigan’s economic turnaround and fiscal restraint have also resulted in additional resources for us to put towards education and public safety.

School Aid funding is increased by more than $200 million, including money to raise the minimum foundation allowance by $120 per student. Our public universities and community colleges will also see increases of more than 3 percent.

The finalized budget helps keep our communities safe by enabling the Michigan State Police to put 180 new troopers on the roads, and it reserves $140 million more in the state’s rainy day fund to improve our credit rating and end the days of gridlock and government shutdowns.

We understand that many people are still struggling, so we included $90 million in income tax relief for all hard-working Michigan families.

With the budget done, I will continue my efforts to create a positive climate in Michigan for creating jobs and make your government more efficient and accountable to the people.

Michigan Senate Approves Bill to Dedicate Part of 6-Percent Sales Tax to Road Repairs

By Dave Murray

Jackson Citizen Patriot

March 27, 2012

A portion of the sales tax would be earmarked for the state’s crumbling roads if a bill that cleared the state Senate Tuesday becomes law.

Senators overwhelmingly approved a plan to take a part of the 4 percent sales tax that now heads to the budget’s general fund and earmark it for roads with an eye toward landing more federal matching funds.

State residents pay a 6 percent sales tax, with 2 percent headed directly to the school aid fund and the rest is divided to other areas of the budget, including revenue sharing to municipalities.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, said the plan would designate more money for roads without raising taxes at a time when families are struggling with high pump prices.

“Instead of it going to the general fund, which can be used for any number of priorities including overspending in the Department of Corrections in the last few years – of which that budget I chair – I’d rather see us do right by our constituents who believe that what you pay at the pump, those dollars go to roads.

Proos said the change would claim about $135 million for the roads from the general fund. Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal already targets $119 million in general fund money for road projects, but Proos said that is intended as a one-year plan.

He’d rather not use Snyder’s recommendation, leave the $119 million in the general fund and come with other cuts to cover the $17 million gap.

Snyder has said it will take about $1.4 billion to maintain roads, and more for new projects, and has called for lawmakers to look at a variety of ways to raise money.

Revenue from a per-gallon gas tax and vehicle registration fees have dropped because the state has fewer drivers, and people still on the road are driving less and have more fuel-efficient cars.

That means there is less money available for repairs. The Senate Fiscal Agency points to reports that 28,000 miles of state and local roads in poor condition.

Senate leaders have floated the idea of a higher gas taxes, and Sen. Howard Walker has pushed the idea of a 1 percent increase on the sales tax dedicated to roads.

“Folks are having trouble with their own current state in life, and now they can’t afford to get to work. When see gas prices in Southwest Michigan at about $4.15 and going up, we have to question whether people can afford any tax increases,” Proos said.

But he said Walker’s proposal “makes some sense,” saying revenue will be boosted as the economy grows.

“These are tough issues, especially at a time when our schools are seeing the number of students in free or reduced-price lunch increasing on a daily basis, more and more kids coming in for breakfast, that’s indicative of our economic situation in Michigan,” Proos said.

Improving Michigan Airports and Roads

October 25, 2010

I am supporting legislation to redirect sales tax revenue to the State Aeronautics Fund for use in funding our airport systems.

Every dollar used for airports can be multiplied by $9.50 due to a federal match. This is the best bang for the buck of any federal match in our current budgets.

With the current shortfall in the aeronautics system, the money will help to ensure that long term infrastructure needs can be met and will prevent new aviation fuel taxes.

Included in the package are bills that would redirect the proceeds from the leasing of gas and oil mineral rights on state property. The proceeds would redirect 20 percent to Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, 20 percent to Michigan Aeronautics Fund and 60 percent to Michigan Transportation Fund.

This legislation will redirect money earned from gas and oil to the place that it is used most, our roads. This is an investment not only in our infrastructure but, Michigan’s economy as thousands of jobs and small businesses drive the road construction industry.

The bill is now under consideration by the House Tax Policy Committee.

Lawmakers Push for More Amtrak Service

Area Lawmakers Want to Add Nighttime, Early Morning Routes to Current Blue Water and Wolverine Lines

By WILLIAM F. AST III – H-P Staff Writer

NILES – Local state legislators have asked the Michigan Department of Transportation to make a formal request to Amtrak to add additional train service between Chicago and Kalamazoo.

The legislators last week sent a letter to MDOT asking for an additional train leaving Chicago Union Station every evening at 10 p.m., and a return trip leaving Kalamazoo at 6 a.m. each morning. The proposed train would make stops in Hammond, Ind., New Buffalo, Niles, Dowagiac and then Kalamazoo.

Currently there are two trains between Chicago and Kalamazoo. Amtrak’s Blue Water train leaves Chicago Union Station at 4:10 p.m., arriving in Niles at 6:51 p.m., and the Wolverine leaves Chicago at 6 p.m. and arrives in Niles at 8:43 p.m.

Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman based in Chicago, said Amtrak should be able to reach a decision on the request within a year, “perhaps even by this fall.”

“We would have to explore what the costs are and what the anticipated revenues would be,” Magliari said. “Unlike requests for new routes, this is an existing route where we own a large chunk of the tracks. It should not be a year to get this resolved … We hope to get back to the state promptly on this.”

Legislators signing the letter were state Reps. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, Sharon Tyler, R-Niles, Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Matt Lori, R-Constantine, and state Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks.

Amtrak also provides daily train service between Chicago and Grand Rapids. The Pere Marquette train leaves St. Joseph at 9:39 a.m. and arrives at Chicago Union Station at 10:33 a.m.