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Speak out on state budget

Lawmakers haven’t finalized the state budget, yet. That means there’s still time to let your lawmakers know what you want them to fight for.

The state House and state Senate each has passed their version of an $80 billion budget, but the two chambers still have to meet to iron out their differences before crafting a final version of the budget. Though the state fiscal year doesn’t begin until Oct. 1, lawmakers aim to wrap up the budget process next month so K-12 schools know how much money they’ll get per student before they have to put together their own budget.

While lawmakers engage in their final negotiations, there’s still time for Northeast Michiganders to make their wishes known. Not many of those wishes may end up being granted, especially given that Northeast Michigan is represented by Republicans but Democrats control both chambers of the Capitol, but we still believe it’s important for every Michigander to communicate with lawmakers about the spending plan.

The budgeting process is where lawmakers turn policy proposals into programs and actions.

And the state budget has real consequences for Northeast Michigan. Lawmakers, for example, nixed a proposal to fund dredging and the construction of a jetty at the mouth of the Black River in Alcona County.

The budget also funds the Michigan State Police, K-12 schools, community colleges, and local governments.

So we encourage every Northeast Michigander to take a look at the budget — the state Senate Fiscal Agency has a great breakdown at Senate.Michigan.gov/SFA, under “Appropriation Bill Status” — and then reach out to your lawmakers to let them know what you like, what you don’t like, what you want added, what you want subtracted.

State Rep. Cam Cavitt, R-Cheboygan, can be reached at 517-373-0833 or CamCavitt@house.mi.gov. State Sen. Michele Hoitenga, R-Mancelona, can be reached at 517-373-7946 or SenMHoitenga@senate.michigan.gov.

And we urge Cavitt and Hoitenga to hear what Northeast Michiganders have to say and then take that fight to the Capitol, even if it’s a losing fight.

— Alpena News

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