Jessica Mathews /

Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a record budget for the 2024 fiscal year and one local lawmaker is among those expressing concerns that it would drain the state's $9 (B) billion surplus.

Whitmer on Wednesday proposed a $79 (B) billion budget that aims to invest in schools and public health while cutting taxes for the state's retirees and low-income households.

Unveiled in a joint session between the House and Senate appropriations committees, Whitmer's proposal for the 2024 fiscal year would be the state's highest ever and comes as the state’s surplus is projected to exceed $9 (B) billion.

If passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, Whitmer said her plan would be a “historic education investment” and deposit $19 billion into the state’s School Aid Fund. That includes a 5% increase in per-pupil funding for schools.

The governor is asking for $300 (m) million for a universal pre-K proposal and said she also wants to put aside $160 (m) million to become the fourth state to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students - which she said would save families an average of $850 a year.

Whitmer once again highlighted her “Lowering MI Costs” plan to repeal the retirement tax and increase the earned income tax credit for low-income households.

On Monday, the Governor said she plans to send $180 “inflation relief checks” to all tax filers - a plan that would cost $800 (M) million. The plan would put $800 million into a fund used to attract large corporations to the state and would also create a funding mechanism putting $500 million each year into the business incentive fund.

Republicans have refused to pledge their support for the tax relief plan, which Democrats would need if they want the plan to apply to the current tax season, and have said that Whitmer is diverting money into the state's business incentive fund to bypass an income tax reduction triggered by the state’s high revenue.

Whitmer refused to say during Monday’s press conference whether she would attempt to stop the income tax rollback but said the $180 check would “dwarf” any relief that might come from “doing nothing and hoping that something may or may not go into effect."

Whitmer’s plan also includes $200 (m) million to rebuild and fix bridges across the state and $65 (m) million to expand electric vehicle charging networks.

Budget Director Chris Harkins has said the governor's budget would drain the state's $9 billion surplus and leave approximately $250 (m) million on the balance sheet at the end of the 2024 fiscal year. However, he stated they are very confident that what has been proposed is a sustainable plan.

Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township is among those raising concerns with Whitmer’s budget recommendations.

Bollin is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and said the Governor expects people to keep paying higher taxes while funding unsustainable government programs.

Bollin asserted that taxpayer money should be used wisely and efficiently to provide essential services and improve the state. She commented “If we have a significant surplus – as we do now, to the tune of $9 billion – that money should be returned to the hardworking people who earned it. But instead of providing the ongoing, long-standing income tax relief Michiganders deserve, the governor is using it to finance a spending spree”.

Bollin went on to say that rather than addressing important issues like fixing local roads and paying down debt, the governor is spending recklessly on unsustainable new government programs. She added “$180 ‘inflation relief’ checks the governor is touting are a joke. What can a family do with 50 cents a day? If they save up for over a week, they can buy a gallon of milk. In 100 days, maybe they could top off the family minivan with gas”.

Complete information about the Governor’s budget proposal is available in the provided link.