VanderWall dismayed at governor’s cuts to roads and education

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Wednesday expressed disappointment in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent fiscal year 2020 budget cuts of more than $430 million for roads and education funding.

“The governor campaigned on — and has repeatedly discussed — the dire need to fix our roads, but when we sent her the budget, she cut road funding,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “For her to talk incessantly about the need to fix the roads and then to cut nearly $400 million to do so is completely irresponsible.

“Does she want the roads fixed or not? It sure doesn’t seem like it.”

$375 million in cuts to road funding were among the governor’s unprecedented 147 line-item vetoes.

In addition, she vetoed $38 million in tuition grant money and $23 million in career and technical education (CTE) programs and equipment.

“The governor made a mistake in vetoing $38 million in tuition grant money providing need-based scholarships for undergraduate students,” VanderWall said. “Financial aid packages are awarded in the spring, and switching the grant allocation mid-year will financially burden and harm thousands of students in Michigan.

“Career and technical education is essential to the economic success of future generations. Our schools have asked specifically for CTE equipment to improve training, and the governor has snubbed them. This is appalling.”

In addition to the cuts to education and road funding, the governor issued a historic 147 line-item vetoes to slash nearly $950 million in funding approved by the Legislature, including:
• $37 million from the Pure Michigan campaign;
• $27 million in payments to rural communities in lieu of taxes on state-owned land;
• $13 million for state police secondary road patrols;
• $14 million in county jail reimbursements; 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.