LANSING? Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, issued the following statement Thursday after listening to Gov. Rick Snyder’s fiscal year 2014 state budget presentation:
“I am proud that the governor’s plan builds on the achievements of financially sound budgets and an economy in recovery while increasing support for the key priorities of educating our students, addressing our transportation needs and protecting our natural resources.
“It is great news for all Michigan students to see an increased support for all levels of education. The budget plan features a $272 million increase for K-12 education and a similar 2 percent increase for community colleges and universities. I am especially pleased to see that more money is being dedicated to close the gap between our lowest and highest funded schools.
“I am also pleased to see a dedication to early childhood education. An increase of $130 million for the state’s Great Start Readiness Program will have a tremendous impact on academic success by ensuring more students are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.
“The governor also called for a significant increase in the state’s efforts to fix and maintain our roads and bridges. As a member of the new Senate Infrastructure Modernization Committee, I will work with my colleagues to evaluate the governor’s plan – and all other ideas – and bring a Northern Michigan perspective on a way to fix our roads in the most cost-effective manner possible.
“Our harbors are part of our infrastructure, and I applaud the governor for pledging $21.5 million to meet our immediate dredging needs so that our harbors are safe for boaters. In 2014, the governor also plans on using an additional $9.4 million for dredging to address low water levels.
“Enjoying the outdoors is a vital part of life in Northern Michigan, so it is good to see that the governor’s budget includes more funds for protecting our natural resources and enhancing recreational access to our parks and waterways.
“I also want to thank the governor for his ongoing support for public safety and tourism. His plan includes $15.2 million to train an additional 107 troopers to keep our communities safe and a $4 million increase for Pure Michigan to continue to attract visitors to our state.”