VanderWall alarmed by governor’s vetoes

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Friday voiced alarm at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $947 million in line-item vetoes from the fiscal year 2020 budget.

VanderWall said he is particularly concerned about the more than $27 million reduction in payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) to rural northern communities on state-owned land.

Payments in lieu of taxes are made by the state to local units of government in lieu of property taxes for the land owned by the state and administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Because much of northern Michigan is rural land, the governor’s vetoes disproportionately harm this region of the state.

“Three counties in our district will be directly hit the hardest by the governor’s slashing of the PILT budget,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “Forty percent or more of the land in Crawford, Kalkaska and Roscommon counties is owned by the state, as well as 25% or more of the land in Benzie and Missaukee counties.

“These communities will be devastated by the cuts to the money that is due them. With nearly 1 million acres of state-owned land within the district and millions of dollars paid through PILT to our local units of government to provide essential services such as police, fire and EMS, these cuts will be devastating to residents and visitors alike.”

VanderWall said the governor’s cuts to the Pure Michigan campaign will similarly harm his district more than most others.

“Our district has some of the most beautiful land, rivers, lakes and streams you’ll find in the entire state. It is the definition of Pure Michigan,” VanderWall said. “With a stroke of her pen, the governor has hacked more than $37 million from the Pure Michigan budget, which is going to seriously harm tourism and business marketing here.”

In addition to PILT and Pure Michigan cuts, the governor issued a historic 147 line-item vetoes to slash nearly $950 million in funding approved by the Legislature, including:
• $375 million in additional road funding;
• $13 million for county sheriff secondary road patrols;
• $14 million in county jail reimbursements;
• $38 million in tuition grant money;
• $21 million in career and technical education (CTE) programs and equipment; and
• $4 million for county veteran services.

VanderWall encouraged constituents to contact the governor’s office and share their concerns about her veto choices and how they will affect the daily lives of residents everywhere.

“Last week we sent the governor a responsible state budget with record funding and no tax increase, focused on the priorities of all Michigan families,” VanderWall said “Sadly, she has decided to cut nearly a billion dollars in funding to many vital areas. People need to express their frustration with her action.”

VanderWall said Gov. Whitmer’s constituent services line can be reached at 517-335-7858