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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).


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Thomas Albert
State Senator

Fighting for taxpayers in the upcoming state budget

The governor this week discussed her proposal for the state’s upcoming budget year. Her legislative allies also advanced tax plans that are connected to the budget proposal. I will always try to find common ground moving forward, but it is already clear the governor’s budget plan is unsustainable and the tax plan isn’t fair to Michigan families.

The governor’s tax plan ultimately shortchanges you and your family. She favors a small, one-time “rebate” check instead of providing the long-term, year-after-year tax relief that should automatically kick in under current Michigan law. Based on state revenues, the income tax rate likely should be dropping from the current 4.25% to around 4.05%. But the governor wants to avoid it -- and instead impose the equivalent of a tax increase in future years by keeping the income tax rate higher than it should be. Her complicated plan also attempts to take savings away from hardworking Michiganders and redirect that money to corporate welfare.

When it comes to the budget, the governor’s spending plan is unsustainable and irresponsible. Our state has billions of dollars on the balance sheet – but we must be smart about it and seize the opportunity to put our state in a better financial position moving forward. We don’t know what the future holds for the economy. We cannot carelessly overspend – especially on ongoing programs – and put the state in a precarious position where cuts to essential services might be necessary if revenues fall short of expectations. The governor’s spending plan would reduce the state’s surplus by 97% – and that’s simply too much spending.

I agree we must invest in what Michigan families and communities need to thrive and prosper. I support investing more in schools and infrastructure – but it must be accomplished responsibly and sustainably.

Higher expectations help kids learn to read

This week I voted against Senate Bill 12, a measure that essentially guts the accountability standards designed to help kids attain essential reading skills.

The current law calls for students to be able to read at a second-grade level – as determined by the state assessment – before they advance to the fourth grade. They can also demonstrate a third-grade reading level in alternative methods. This law already has commonsense exemptions that allow grade promotion on a case-by-case basis when warranted. Superintendents, for example, can allow an exemption if it is deemed in the best interests of the child. But we cannot abandon the standards altogether.

We might think we are doing kids a favor by abandoning the current state law. But we are not. The goal of the reading requirements isn’t to punish kids – it’s to help them now and throughout their lives.

Kids are more likely to achieve and succeed when they are expected to achieve and succeed. Lowering expectations is not going to improve our kids’ reading scores. It’s not going to close the learning or achievement gap. Senate Bill 12 is going to hurt the very kids we say we want to help – and it sends a very poor message to our entire state.

Click here or on the image below to see my full remarks on the Senate floor.

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Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 18-19

Michigan’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend is this month. On Feb. 18-19, all fishing license fees will be waived, and vehicles will be able to enter state parks and use boating sites without a Recreation Passport.

Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish, but all fishing regulations still apply. Visit for information on special events and activities.

Remember that ice fishing can be dangerous if people do not follow safety procedures or head out on the ice unprepared. Click here for a list of recommended supplies, tips and safety advice for a successful ice fishing trip.

Catholic Schools Week

The Michigan Legislature adopted a resolution recognizing the week of Jan. 29 through Feb. 4 as Catholic Schools Week in Michigan.

Senate Resolution 3 recognizes the excellent work Michigan’s Catholic school administrators and teachers perform every day. The resolution commends Catholic schools for instilling students with a broad, values-based education, emphasizing the lifelong development of moral, intellectual, and social values. Catholic schools also educate many students who are non-Catholic and many who are economically disadvantaged.

The resolution also highlights the dedication of Catholic schools across Michigan toward academic excellence and the key role they play in promoting and ensuring a brighter, stronger future for students across the state.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

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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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