Departing Michigan governor signs spending bill
Departing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed off on more than $1 billion of supplemental spending before handing the reins of state government to Gretchen Whitmer.
Snyder, who served two terms, the maximim allowed under Michigan's term limit laws, signed the legislation Friday allocating about $1.3 billion of state and federal dollars made possible with available revenue from increased tax collections, funds not spent by state agencies, and additional federal matching dollars.
“I am extremely pleased we now have ongoing revenue for cleaning up contaminated sites across our state, and I am also excited about another healthy deposit into the state’s rainy-day fund which puts the balance at more than $1.1 billion,” the Republican said.
The rainy day fund received $100 million. Another $43 million to go to eliminate unfunded liabilities for military and judiciary retirements systems.
More than $100 million from added online sales tax revenue will fund projects on Michigan roads, a move Snyder said puts the state two years ahead of schedule on reaching its goal to pump an additional $1.2 billion into transportation spending. Democrats were angered that the funds did not go to schools.
About $69 million will fund the cleanup of contaminated sites. The funding replaces a tapped-out $675 million bond fund for environmental projects.
Another $25 million will provide school safety grants, $20 million will help finance the expansion of broadband to rural areas and $20 million is earmarked for economic development in Detroit.
The Soo Locks construction project and an addition to the state capitol will receive about $100 million in funding.
Snyder vetoed one small $2 million grant Wayne County-based project.
Michigan earlier this year began collecting sales tax from online business which is expected to increase the state's tax revenue by almost $250 million in the next three years. A June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allows the Michigan Department of Treasury to collect sales tax from retailers located outside the state if the retailer exceeds $100,000 in sales or 200 or more transactions in Michigan within the previous calendar year.
Whitmer, a Democrat, pledged during her inauguration speech Tuesday to work across the aisle on issues like transportation. She faces a Republican legislative majority.
“Divided government makes solving problems harder, but not impossible… let’s fix our roads, and be the state that’s not paralyzed by partisanship, but works together and create the blueprint for rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure,” Whitmer said. “Let’s show the rest of the country how to solve America’s literacy crisis, and show them what good government actually looks like."