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Dear Friends,

Welcome to my second edition of the 36th District E-Newsletter. I am honored to represent you and look forward to working with you towards a better future for Michigan!

This e-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening in Lansing and what I am doing as your state senator. I hope that you will find this e-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. Or if you are in Lansing, please feel free to stop by my office at 920 Farnum Building.

Jim Stamas
State Senator
36th District of Michigan


Senator Jim Stamas
Mary Draves joined me at the state Capitol for State of the State address

Mary Draves of Midland was my guest for the Governor's 2015 State of the State address at the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday night. Mary is the global director for environmental remediation and restoration at Dow Chemical.

Sen. Jim Stamas comments on State of the State address

Governor Snyder outlined a positive vision for Michigan that builds on the achievements we've made to improve our great state and energizing our economy. During my tenure serving Michigan over the last several years, we've seen reduced unemployment, the creation of more than 300,000 new jobs and the largest state commitment to education in history.

I look forward to working with the governor to help improve government at all levels in Michigan by making it more efficient, effective and accountable.

Jobs and education will continue to be top priorities, with a focus on boosting student performance and emphasizing career and technical education options.

The governor's idea of bringing more Michigan residents into the mainstream of a `River of Opportunity' is tremendously important to the future of our state. Michigan is creating jobs. The next step is to ensure students and existing workers have the skills necessary to fill the workforce needs of a growing economy. Career and technical education can play a key role in that effort.

We have achieved much to protect our natural resources and make Michigan attractive to job creators and tourists, yet we still face challenges. Working with the governor, I remain dedicated to improving government efficiency while also increasing support for fixing our roads, preparing students for success and protecting our communities.

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Michigan’s Transportation Road Funding Ballot Initiative:

In 2014, the Legislature approved a methodical package projected to infuse $1.2 billion of additional revenue annually to repair Michigan’s roads and bridges, while funding our schools and local governments too. In the legislation, a ballot initiative must first be passed by Michigan voters on May 5, 2015, in order to increase the sales tax from 6% to 7%.

Currently, almost 75% of the sales tax collected is distributed to the School Aid Fund, which is used to fund K-12 education, and roughly 16% goes to the general fund, which finances most major departments of state government. Approximately 10% of the sales tax is currently distributed to local government units through revenue sharing, and roughly 1% of the sales tax is distributed to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund.

Roughly $1.34 billion would be created by increasing the sales tax, with roughly $807 million of that going to the School Aid Fund. Currently, roughly $530 million is earmarked for the School Aid Fund, so with a 1% increase in the sales tax, the School Aid Fund would actually receive roughly $30 million more in funding.

In addition to increasing the sales tax, this initiative would also exempt gas and diesel fuel from sales and use taxes, and convert the current 19 cent per gallon gas tax and the 15 cent per gallon diesel tax to a 14.9% tax on the wholesale price of gas and diesel fuel. Additionally, $1.2 billion collected over the next two years would go toward paying down old MDOT debt.

Along with increased School Aid Funding, revenue sharing, and more funds for transportation. This road funding proposal would also increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 6% of the federal EITC to 20%. Additional changes in the initiative include increasing truck registration fees; freezing registration fees for cars and trucks purchased after 1984; requiring competitive bidding, performance contracts, and warranties for certain road projects; require the collection of sales tax on internet purchases; earmark $40 million in FY 2014-15 for at-risk pupils; and establish a statewide study of educational resources.

To summarize, the plan would annually dedicate $300 million in additional funding to schools, $94 million to local governments through revenue sharing and would provide $260 million in tax relief for low-income individuals. Increasing the sales tax requires voter approval and will be on the ballot for consideration on May 5. All of the changes are contingent upon voter approval of the sales tax question except for Main Street Fairness and the statewide education study.

MPSC: Home Heating Credits Now Being Processed

The Michigan Public Service Commission has announced that the Michigan Department of Treasury is now processing Michigan Home Heating Credits for the 2014 tax year. The credit assists low-income customers with winter energy bills. The average credit in 2014 was $130.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Non-resident fishing license discounted for 2015

The Department of Natural Resources announced that a discount of just over 10% has been approved for non-resident annual fishing licenses for 2015. The cost of the non-resident annual fishing license will go from $76 to $68 starting on March 1, 2015.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Providing better opportunities for hunters with disabilities

We all know that all of Michigan DNR employees and volunteers have a passion for the outdoors, but many of them have a strong desire to serve people with disabilities too. Providing better opportunities for hunters and anglers with disabilities has been accomplished by impromptu volunteer efforts combined with a number of programs aimed specifically at people with disabilities, including programs such as Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, which serves many veterans.

Click here for the full article.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 36th Senate District of Michigan.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 36th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website or via Facebook.

Senator Jim Stamas

920 Farnum Bldg. P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-7946

Email: [email protected]
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