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Dear Friends:

An important part of my job as your state senator is to provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol. This newsletter is offered in that spirit.

I am the new state senator for the new 18th District – covering all of Barry County and parts of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ionia counties. Please feel free to contact me with any issues related to state government at [email protected], or by calling 517-373-1734 (toll-free at 855-347-8018).

Here is a link to a short introductory video.

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Thomas Albert
State Senator

Local office hours in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties

I plan to have local office hours throughout the 18th District in the coming months. The first sessions are scheduled for Monday, Jan. 30 in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties at:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Lawrence Memorial District Library, 107 N. Main St. in Climax.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Pierce Room at Willard Public Library, 7 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek. Please note this is not a Willard Library program.

Office hours are open to district residents to talk about issues related to state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary, but space may be limited at some locations.

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Reaction to State of the State address

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave her latest State of the State speech this week. It is clear we have sharply different visions for how to move Michigan forward.

She has proposed relatively narrow tax relief that helps only some Michiganders. In my opinion, we should offer broader tax relief that helps everyone in the state. She focuses on giving away taxpayer money to specific companies, while I advocate for making Michigan a better place to create and find jobs across the board in every community. She has not supported my previous proposals promoting adoption and investing more in maternal health as an alternative to abortion. These are just a few examples of our differing visions.

The governor and I have worked together on state budgets in the past, and she has signed several bills I have sponsored into law over the past four years. I remain ready to work with her on areas where we can find common ground to help our state.

A better fiscal approach for Michigan and its taxpayers

Over the past week, I have had a couple of opportunities in the Legislature to advocate for tax relief and more fiscally responsible planning from your state government.

I favor tax relief that helps all Michigan residents – not just select groups. I would lower the income tax rate to at least 4.1% and leave more income tax-free by raising the personal exemption to $10,000 for single filers and $20,000 for joint filers. I would lower the retirement age to 65 and double the exemption on all income for seniors to $40,000 for single filers and $80,000 for joint filers.

I voted against complicated plans that were too narrowly focused and unfair to other taxpayers. For example, the pension tax plan preferred by Democrats helps retirees with public pensions far more than those with private retirement income – and that just isn’t right.

Overall, the governor’s EITC and retirement plans would cover an estimated 1.2 million Michigan households. The plan I prefer would help everyone covered by the roughly 5 million tax returns filed in the state each year.

I also advocated to prepare our state for a looming economic downturn – proposing to put more money in the state’s “rainy day” fund and pay down more debt. These are steps we should take for the long-term financial health of the state, and to make sure we don’t have to cut essential services if the economy tanks. Unfortunately, Democrats did not agree to these proposals – but I will continue to fight for them.

Resources for safer schools

I have fought for safer schools throughout my time in the Legislature. This includes crafting proposals for additional support through the state budget process. One of the ways these efforts are showing results is through the recent awarding of grants to schools through the state’s School Resource Officer Grant program.

Nearly $25 million will be awarded to help hire school resource officers statewide. Schools within District 18 receiving grants include:

• Harper Creek Community Schools ($104,145)
• Hastings Area School System ($75,000)
• Lakeview School District ($149,381)
• Lowell Area Schools ($176,902)
• Marshall Public Schools ($148,440)

Many other area schools also will receive assistance. A full list is available here.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

Michigan’s 18th Senate District includes Barry County and portions of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Ionia counties.

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Senator Thomas A. Albert
4500 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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