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Dear Friends,

I hope each of you has had an enjoyable start to summer with family and friends. We are blessed to live in a state with fresh bodies of water where we can relax and enjoy the sunshine.

To better serve you, I am offering this e-newsletter on what’s happening in our community and across our state.

I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8028 or email  [email protected]. Also, please check out my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Working for you,

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Mark Huizenga
State Senator

Huizenga supports FY 2023 state budget

Last week, the Legislature finalized a fiscal year 2023 state budget that increases funding for K-12 schools, reduces debt, and saves resources to provide tax relief for everyone in Michigan.

House Bill 5783 is the general omnibus budget and includes:

• $2 million for the United Methodist Community House to expand affordable housing and open up child care options.
• $6.5 million to help cover transition costs for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans moving into a new facility.
• $38 million for a new Pine Rest facility, focusing on mental health support for the entire West Michigan community.
• $20.1 million to help PACE Initiatives, which helps the elderly live independently at home, cover increased health care costs during the pandemic and to increase capacity.
• $2.5 million for the Graduation Alliance to help high school dropouts earn their diploma.
• $201,100 for building security cost increases at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.
• Funding for a Kent County foster care pilot project with the West Michigan Partnership for Children.
• $525,000 for Kids’ Food Basket to address a waitlist of children who need sack suppers.
• $10 million for the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital joint venture.
• $5 million for Network180 to serve individuals and families in Kent County seeking help for mental illness, substance use, or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This budget also invests $30 million toward a proposed 12,000-seat amphitheater along the riverfront in downtown Grand Rapids, $11 million to expand the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s visitor capacity, and $12 million to support Special Olympics Michigan.

HB 5783 also includes $2.3 billion to help fix local roads and bridges, $1.7 billion to fix state highway roads and bridges, $750 million to help local governments meet their pension obligations and free up more funds for critical local services, $325 million for a new state psychiatric hospital complex, $110 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs, $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and funding to train and hire 170 state police troopers and train 800 corrections officers.

Senate Bill 845 is the education budget, which features a nearly $2.6 billion increase in K-12 school funding to $19.6 billion and uses $630.5 million to increase the minimum foundation allowance by another $450 to $9,150 per student. It also provides $295 million to address student mental health, $305 million in scholarship funding to help address teacher shortages, $168 million in school safety grants, and nearly $1.5 billion for the school employee’s retirement system to put more resources in the classroom.

SB 845 also includes a 5% increase for university and community college operations, $300 million to pay down debt in the higher education retirement system, and $250 million in a fund for a new student scholarship program, details for which will be negotiated this summer.

July district office hours

I am holding in-person office hours throughout the district on a regular basis because hearing directly from the people about the issues they are facing is an important part of representing everyone in West Michigan. These meetings give local residents a chance to express their viewpoints about what needs to be done and offer help to people dealing with a variety of state issues.

In July, I will be meeting residents on Friday, July 15 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at New Beginnings, 4735 Lake Michigan Drive NW in Grand Rapids, on Friday, July 22 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive NE in Rockford, and on Friday, July 29 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Mr. Burger, 5181 Northland Drive NE in Plainfield.

Office hours are open to all residents and no appointment is necessary. Anyone who is unable to attend office hours may contact my office.

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Bill to expand small business PPT relief passes Senate

The Michigan Senate passed my legislation to implement expanded personal property tax (PPT) relief for small businesses and help reimburse local governments for lost revenue.

This reform will provide more relief from personal property taxes, which punish job providers for investing in their business, while also protecting the ability of our local governments to provide vital services, like public safety.

In December 2021, Michigan enacted legislation to increase the number of businesses that could qualify for the small taxpayer PPT exemption by increasing the exemption amount from $80,000 to $180,000. However, the legislation did not include a mechanism and process to administer the exemption.

My bill, Senate Bill 1060, would create a filing process to allow small businesses to use a PPT exemption when the total true cash value of industrial and commercial property is between $80,000 and $180,000 and set a deadline for local governments to provide exemption information to the Michigan Department of Treasury for reimbursement.

SB 1061 would create the Local Government Reimbursement Fund and set a deadline by which the state must reimburse local governments for exemptions granted the previous year. SB 1062 establishes a deadline by which appropriated funds must be transferred to the reimbursement fund.

SBs 1060-1062 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Independence Day weekend! The tradition of celebrating Independence Day on July 4 dates to the Revolutionary War and the Continental Congress. On June 7, 1776, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House. The delegate from Virginia, Richard Henry Lee, introduced a motion calling for independence from Great Britain, and a committee was formed to draft a formal statement. That statement, the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 2 and was ratified by the 13 colonies on July 4th.

Early colonists recognized the anniversary with bell ringing, military parades and picnics. Today, those same traditions continue with parades, picnics, and my personal favorite – ice cream. More widespread patriotic celebrations began after the War of 1812 when the United States fought back against Great Britain’s attempts to restrict trade.

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Did you know that the Republican Party was founded right here in Michigan?

The Republican Party was formed “under the oaks” in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6, 1854!

1,500 Whigs, Democrats, and Free-Soilers opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the extension of slavery met in an oak grove near Jackson. With David S. Walbridge serving as chair, they organized themselves into the Michigan Republican Party.

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Senate urges federal recognition for Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians

In case you missed this in my last e-news before the holiday, the Michigan Senate recently approved my resolution to urge the U.S. Department of Interior to approve the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians’ petition for federal acknowledgment.

Senate Resolution 151 says that the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians’ request has been on the “active consideration” list since 2013. Without federal recognition, members are denied their rights to health care, housing, and education assistance, among others, through resources that are provided only to federally recognized tribes.

This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue — it’s about fairness and good governance. The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians have provided important social welfare programs for its members and other urban tribes and they deserve their long-overdue federal recognition. They are valued partners in shaping the future of our region and our state. This resolution is to support the tribe and respect the treaty rights of a distinct and sovereign people.

SR 151 notes that the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians are the political successor of the Grand River Ottawa people that first established a sovereign-to-sovereign relationship with the United States in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, the 1821 Treaty of Chicago, and the 1836 Treaty of Washington. It was further strengthened by the 1855 Treaty of Detroit, which recognized the tribe’s ancestral homelands in West Michigan.

Copies of the resolution will be transmitted to the governor, the U.S. secretary of the interior, and the director of the U.S. Office of Federal Acknowledgment.

Click here or on the image below to watch a video of my remarks on the Senate floor about the resolution.

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Michigan cherries

Michigan cherries are grown from Benton Harbor to Elk Rapids, making Michigan the number one cherry producer in the U.S. In fact, Michigan supplies more than 70% of all U.S. tart cherries!

The first cherry trees were planted by a missionary on Old Mission Peninsula in 1852. The cherry trees flourished there, and soon other farmers began planting trees in the area. The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 and by the early 1900s, the tart cherry industry was firmly established. Today, Michigan produces nearly 200 million pounds of cherries each year.

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Serving the people of West Michigan is very important to me and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may contact me by calling toll-free 1-855-347-8028 or emailing [email protected] .

I look forward to serving you, and I encourage you to contact me if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Senator Mark Huizenga
201 Townsend St., Suite #7200
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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