John Proos: Cautiously optimistic about state’s projected ‘surplus’Published 5:11pm Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph
State fiscal leaders from the legislature and the executive branch met with economists from across the state on Friday for the annual January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference.
After meeting, they forecasted that Michigan’s economy will continue to improve in 2013, which will result in a projected $177 million surplus the upcoming fiscal year.
I am encouraged to see the revenue estimates come back better than expected and that Michigan’s economy continues to recover. Both figures show that there is light at the end of the tunnel for hardworking Michigan taxpayers.
Our efforts to revitalize our great state are working to energize our economy, especially in Southwest Michigan. Between the time I took office and November of last year, the unemployment rates in Berrien and Cass counties fell by more than four points each, and Van Buren County saw an unemployment rate reduction of more than six points.
Specifically, from January 2011 to November 2012, Berrien County’s unemployment rate was reduced from 11.9 percent to 7.2 percent; Cass County’s rate dropped from 10.8 percent to 6.5 percent; and the rate in Van Buren County plummeted from 13.8 percent to 7.5 percent. The average unemployment rate for the state is 7.9 percent.
Michigan added jobs in 2011 for the first time in more than a decade. The state also increased jobs in 2012 and is projected to add jobs this year and next year. These are strong indications that we are on the right path, but much work remains to be done to create the environment for sustained job creation for the people who are still looking for work or underemployed.
The estimating conference’s economic and tax revenue projections are used to draft budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins Oct. 1.
But it is important to remember that these are only projections. There are many national and worldwide uncertainties that could impact Michigan’s economy and state budget.
The budget surplus is great news, but it is hardly a winning lottery ticket. Now is not the time for a spending spree.
We must be cautious and responsible with spending. That is why I will work to pass a budget that continues to save for a rainy day, improve government efficiency, pay off debt and invest in top priorities like education and public safety.
Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.