By Cindy Denby
Oct. 1 marked the start of the new fiscal year and I can't help but think of what a different position our state is in than it was just a few short years ago.
When Fiscal Year 2010 began, during my first term in the House, the state budget wasn't balanced and gimmicks were being used to get it done just before the constitutional deadline. Back then, the goal was simply to keep the status quo intact, instead of finding solutions to revitalize our economy.
As Fiscal Year 2013 begins, we have a lot to be proud of. Through reforms we have eliminated a $1.5 billion state deficit, built up the state's Rainy Day fund and completed the state budget months before the constitutional deadline. Instead of finding short-term fixes, I have worked with my colleagues over the last 21 months to implement real solutions that work for Michigan's hard-working taxpayers. By streamlining government, we were able to reduce our state debt by $20 billion, and these focused priorities meant additional funding for K-12 education, roads and public safety.
The start of the fiscal year also put into effect a broad-based tax relief plan that will put more money back into the pockets of Michigan's hard-working taxpayers. Public Acts 223 and 224 lower the income tax rate from 4.35 to 4.25 percent and increases the personal income tax exemption from $3,700 to $3,950 per person. The personal exemption will further increase to $4,000 on Jan. 1, 2014.
Being fiscally responsible has helped us make significant progress in our efforts to revitalize our economy. These efforts have put our state on solid financial ground and now we are in a position to give back to Michigan taxpayers in the form of tax relief, which all hard-working taxpayers absolutely deserve. I'm extremely proud of the responsible reforms and dedication to fiscal responsibility that have been focused on this term in the Michigan House.
I'm confident that continuing these efforts will further revitalize our economy and help make Michigan an even better place to live and work.