Interesting that after a historic defeat at the ballot box to increase our taxes, our state politicians may find existing funding to pay for most of the infrastructure improvements.

According to an article in the Detroit News, Michigan’s Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) has stated he will submit his own plan to improve the infrastructure of our roads and bridges in Michigan. That plan would look to utilize $20 billion of restricted and dedicated funds to cover the cost.

Michigan’s Speaker of the House was quoted in the article as saying, "The far majority of revenue needs to come from existing revenue," and "I would not be interested in a plan that was all new revenue."

Gov. Rick Snyder is concerned about the harmful "consequences" of reaching into those funds. He is quoted in the article saying, "I think that's one of the better solutions that could be an element of an overall solution." Snyder also implied that he was not looking for any short-term solutions to improve our infrastructure.

Other sources of funding could come from the $2 billion in restricted funds in the community health budget and School Aid Fund.

I can see many debates concerning the use of funds from the community health budget and the School Aid Fund.  Can you image the political commercials coming from this?

Michigan’s 2016 budget exceeds $53 billion and is made up of the following:

  • 42% is federal funds,
  • 38% is restricted money earmarked by law
  • 19% is General Fund money

Yesterday on my show, one of my listeners who called in brought up the possibility of tapping into Michigan’s $18 billion in our Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fund.  Apparently that fund made more than $700 million in interest earnings last year and could be used for the roads through an act of the Legislature.

I never thought our politicians would consider that, but apparently some are.

What are your thoughts about utilizing funds from the above mentioned “restricted” funds to improve Michigan’s infrastructure?

Good idea or bad?

Is this only a short-term fix when we should be looking for a long-term solution?

Let’s discuss this today on my show The Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.

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