The most important thing to take away from the Governor’s address is that Michigan’s comeback is very much a reality. We have had sustained population growth for six straight years and through numerous reforms, we have created a business-friendly environment that has resulted in the creation of 540,000 private-sector jobs.
These reforms have also led to the state’s unemployment rate being cut by more than half and Michigan seeing the nation’s largest increase in manufacturing jobs.
Now that we’ve balanced our budgets well ahead of schedule for seven years in a row and people are getting back to work, it’s time to give relief to families throughout the state. The Senate has led the charge with multiple tax reform bills that seek to provide clarity to recent action on the federal level, in addition to savings for families.
The Senate recently approved tax reforms that would restore and increase the state’s personal exemption after it was effectively eliminated by the federal government, maintain the personal exemption for cities who impose an income tax, and create a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care, such as care for children, elderly parents or disabled family members. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor to get these signed into law.
Lastly, I applaud the Governor for his continued focus on the public health crisis that is crippling our state. Unfortunately, families from every demographic have been shattered by this tragedy. I have met with countless families that have had loved ones taken away or had their families torn apart because of addiction to prescription opioids and heroin.
We have approved several measures in recent years that seek to combat the issue. We gave pharmacies, families of at-risk individuals, law enforcement officers and first responders the ability to carry Naloxone, a formula that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Toward the end of 2017, the Legislature also approved a package of bills that seek to keep opioids off the streets by reducing the number of opioids that can be prescribed for short-term injuries, require prescribers to check a patient’s history via the Michigan Automated Prescription System, and put an end to doctor shopping.
I am glad the Governor signed these measures into law and am pleased to hear them being included in the Governor’s speech. I know that mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends and other loved ones from around the state who have lost someone appreciate the governor giving the issue the attention it deserves.