Proos: Senate budget recommendation passes

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — After passage of a Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement:

“I am proud to support a Senate budget plan that builds on our commitment to improving government accountability, increasing support for our schools and providing vital services.

“Education remains a top priority. Under this budget, school funding would once again break the record for the most amount the state has ever spent on educating our kids. It would also pay down more than $1 billion in legacy costs — allowing more dollars to go into the classroom.

“The budget plan also increases support to fight Asian carp; expands the valuable Healthy Kids Dental program to every county in the state; supports a new school safety initiative; and extends the secure cities partnership to more communities — including Benton Harbor.

“As chairman of the Senate Corrections budget subcommittee, I saved $10 million beyond the governor’s budget recommendation while reinvesting $20 million in criminal justice reform.

“The plan realizes savings by utilizing existing, updated correctional facilities and closing those that are old and costly. It doesn’t make fiscal sense to keep shuttered facilities built in this century and paying excessive amounts in maintenance for those built in the early 1900s.

“I recently announced a bipartisan criminal justice reform package focused on lowering recidivism and keeping Michigan safe. Refocusing our system on rehabilitation and reform of prisoners is good for public safety and a smarter use of taxpayer dollars.

“Many of our criminal justice reform goals are included in this budget plan. It would invest funds to convert the successful Swift and Sure probation sanctioning program to a specialty court and expand evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism rates. The plan also supports programs for drug addiction treatment and vocational training.

“Improving the cost-effectiveness of our criminal justice system and our entire state government is critical to focusing our limited resources on key priorities while still living within our means.”