Download images to view this photo

Dear Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol.

I am the state senator for the 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).


Download graphics to view this image

Thomas Albert
State Senator

Democrats double down on failed corporate welfare approach

Gov. Whitmer and her legislative allies have advanced misguided and wasteful economic development policies throughout the 2023-24 legislative term. They started in early 2023 by approving $500 million per year for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund for a three-year period. Their latest proposals would extend a faulty approach based on corporate welfare and centralized planning.

A new proposal from House Democrats would bloat the amount of money going to corporate welfare and central planning in the communities it targets to $6 billion combined over a 10-year period. That would equate to $600 million a year combined for the handouts to corporations and programs such as transit and housing.

Simply repackaging and renaming a failed strategy doesn’t fix it.

Not only do I oppose the SOAR program, last year I proposed legislation to disband it entirely. Michigan’s corporate welfare program has a history of failing to produce an adequate return on investment for taxpayers. Some of the deals approved by the current administration and Legislature are among the worst in history, particularly the Ford battery plant in Marshall, which is outrageously expensive compared to the number of jobs it will create.

Centralized planning does not work. Instead of Big Government dictating the location of projects and the direction of the economy, the free market and communities themselves should drive these decisions.

We would be better off not spending this $6 billion and letting taxpayers and communities keep or invest their money themselves. Lower tax rates and an improved, job-friendly regulatory approach would help our state attract more jobs organically and build the economy from the ground up.

Restaurants, others await Supreme Court ruling

An upcoming Michigan Supreme Court ruling could have major consequences for workers across our state, especially in the restaurant industry.

The pending court decision relates to what many call the “adopt and amend” case. In September 2018, the Legislature adopted citizen-initiated legislation related to mandated minimum wage increases and paid sick leave in Michigan. A few months later, the Legislature amended the proposal.

The Supreme Court will first decide if the “adopt and amend” process was constitutional. If the court decides it was constitutional, then our current law remains in effect. If the court decides the process was unconstitutional, it is difficult to project what could happen next.

Right now, minimum wage in Michigan is $10.33 per hour. An exception to this rule is for tipped-wage employees — a portion of their wages comes from their employer and the rest they make up on tips. Restaurant servers often make more than minimum wage under this system.

If the court decides that the originally adopted language is the effective law in Michigan, then tipped wage employees would have to be paid a full minimum wage from the employer. This change would turn the restaurant industry upside down. Possible changes include higher menu prices, more automation, and altered tipping patterns — all of which could lead to lost jobs in the restaurant industry.

There would be many other possible consequences, including some related specifically to paid leave policies. No matter what happens, the Legislature must be prepared to do what is needed to protect Michigan jobs and opportunities. I wrote more about this situation in this column.

‘Great Start Readiness’ proposals must be workable

We all want more and better preschool options for Michigan kids, which is why I support the Great Start Readiness Program. I am focused on making the program successful and sustainable. Last year, I proposed raising GSRP funding to $14,000 per student — up from the current $9,608. That would allow the program to grow organically and allow programs to add classroom space, teachers and staff as enrollment steadily increased. It could also allow GSRP to be offered in areas it is not now offered.

Unfortunately, the proposals to expand GSRP backed by Gov. Whitmer and legislative Democrats are unworkable. They are focused on eliminating or loosening eligibility requirements without providing adequate resources to add space and staff accordingly. Increasing eligibility without adding capacity would leave low-income families who need GSRP the most competing against wealthier families for spots in the program. It’s peddling false hope — qualifying more Michiganders for so-called ‘free’ preschool they may not be able to find in their communities.

I wrote more about this topic in a column published by The Detroit News.

I oppose “raiding” the teacher pension fund

The Legislature is still working toward final budget plans for the state fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. I continue to be concerned about proposals that would divert roughly $670 million away from paying off debt in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System and allowing the money to instead be spent on current initiatives.

We should pay off this debt in accordance with a state law that I sponsored in 2018. The law helps ensure that the state stays on schedule with its debt payments, and we cannot reduce the overall payment amount until the overall MPSERS debt — still more than $30 billion — is paid off. It’s like a car or home loan — the longer you take to pay it off, the more it is going to cost. It is imperative we stay the course and continue to pay down this liability as quickly as possible to reduce the long-term burden on taxpayers and ensure school retirees receive the benefits they have been promised.

Recently, a coalition of school-related organizations proposed an alternative proposal related to MPSERS debt. While I appreciate the work put into their proposal, and the overall efforts of these groups to support our schools and kids, I cannot support their MPSERS plan.

Their proposal reduces the amount of money going into MPSERS in the same way as proposed by Gov. Whitmer. The school group plan may allocate the diverted funds differently, but it is built on the same misguided foundation of raiding MPSERS. In short, the state would pay more money overall and still pay off less debt in the process.

June is Great Outdoors Month

With 106 state parks and recreation areas and endless miles of shorelines that come from our thousands of rivers, streams, and lakes, it could not be easier to celebrate Great Outdoors Month in Michigan. Whether you prefer hiking, fishing, mountain biking or camping, there is always a new outdoor adventure to enjoy.

This Pure Michigan website provides some suggestions on trips and places to visit.

Download images to view this photo

Michigan's 18th Senate District

Download images to view this photo

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

Visit my website at:

Privacy Policy   |   Unsubscribe