Rep. Cole votes to end budget impasse

State Rep. Triston Cole voted Tuesday Dec. 10 to reverse the governor’s cuts to initiatives reinstating help to the state’s most vulnerable residents and important state-funded programs – ending a budget impasse.

Majority Floor Leader Cole, of Mancelona, made the motion on the House floor for the vote to restore funding to local governments, public safety, education, veterans’ services and several other programs.

The plan will soon head to Gov. Whitmer for her signature, reversing many of the cuts she made at the start of the budget year that began Oct. 1.

“It’s still hard to believe the governor vetoed funds for these critical programs that were funded in the original budget – but I’m glad both sides of the aisle are now working together to fix the problem,” Cole said. “I urge the governor to finalize this agreement and make things right for the families in rural northern Michigan who were hit hardest by her cuts.”

The plan approved today restores support for:

  • Local governments. Many communities receive what’s known as “payment in lieu of taxes” from the state. These payments replace revenue lost on tax-exempt land owned by the state, including public-owned property controlled by the Department of Natural Resources. The plan approved by the Legislature provides more than $27 million statewide in PILT payments – including money relied upon in Antrim, Charlevoix, Otsego, Oscoda and Montmorency counties.
  • Public safety. The plan reverses the governor’s $13 million in cuts to the program allowing sheriffs to hire patrols for secondary roads and $15 million for a statewide fund that reimburses county jails for holding state prisoners. The measure also restores $10 million Whitmer eliminated for school safety grants.
  • Education. The House vote would restore funding for transportation in isolated school districts, dropout recovery programs and literacy programs. The Michigan Tuition Grant program, which helps nearly 17,000 college students statewide, will be funded.
  • Health care. The plan restores $7.9 million for rural hospitals providing obstetrician care, $16.6 million for rural hospitals serving relatively high rates of Medicaid and low-income patients, $10.7 million to improve pediatric psychiatric services, roughly $1.5 million to help children with autism, and roughly $2 million statewide to fight opioid drug abuse.
  • Veterans. The plan would restore grants Whitmer vetoed to ensure military veterans can get access to services they need at the county level.

Cole also voted to approve reforms to ensure no governor will be able to circumvent the legislative process and abuse the State Administrative Board again. The plan provides checks and balances to help restore faith in Michigan’s government and make the process more transparent.

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