PROOS: A year in review, the year ahead

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

As we look back at the accomplishments of 2017, it is good to remember how far we’ve come.

After a decade of decline, we’ve built a positive environment for long-term growth. As a result, per capita income, job creation and economic productivity are up and crime, state debt and unemployment are down. In fact, Michigan has added more than 500,000 private sector jobs in seven years.

To continue moving Michigan forward, we once again passed a fiscally responsible budget that pays down debt, protects our communities and helps prepare all students for success.

Education is key to every child’s future, and we further increased support to schools by more than $415 million while also paying down more than $1 billion in retirement costs to help put additional dollars into the classroom.

Michigan is spending more in 2018 on K-12 education than ever in state history, and roughly 46 cents of every state tax dollar goes to public education.

We made long-overdue reforms to provide our teachers with a sustainable and secure retirement, better protect the retirement benefits promised to local works and retirees, and refocus our criminal justice system on using proven approaches that keep our communities safe.

We also funded 150 new state police troopers, took action to combat the rising opioid abuse epidemic and helped increase enjoyment of Michigan’s great outdoors.

Although we have achieved much in the past seven years to re-energize our state, we have much to do to build on that success and sustain it for future generations.

I will continue working hard to improve government efficiency and effectiveness, ensure every student has an opportunity for success and build on our state’s positive momentum.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents southwest Michigan.