LANSING, Mich. — After listening to the governor’s 2020 State of the State address Wednesday night, Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, issued the following statement:
“We included $400 million in funding for roads and bridges in the balanced budget we presented the governor last year and she vetoed it. Now, she wants to pull out the credit card. It makes no sense to me.
“We’re already paying $118 million a year in debt service on bonds from when Governor Granholm was here and even before that. Why veto almost $400 million in road funding and then turn around and borrow billions? Plus, the money she is borrowing isn’t going to help with county roads, which are what most residents know are the worst in Southeast Michigan.
“Before I got to the Legislature taxes were already raised by over $600 million for roads. Let’s use that money first. Gas tax was raised 7.3 cents, diesel tax was raised 11.3 cents, and annual vehicle tabs were raised 20%. That just got fully implemented in 2017.
“I’m also very disappointed the governor transferred away all of the $7.5 million in funding that had been secured to help ensure the safety of drinking water for the 25% of Michigan families who rely on private wells — which is more than any other state in the country. This was a very bipartisan item in the budget. Every Democrat in the Senate and in the House of Representatives voted for this funding and the governor still eliminated it.
“It’s estimated that 230,000 people on wells in Southeast Michigan alone are exposed to arsenic at levels above the EPA recommended level in their drinking water. Arsenic and other contaminants are linked to serious health problems, including cancer, heart and vascular problems, and chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Arsenic exposure is also associated with lowered IQ in children similar to lead.
“I agree with the governor that we must protect our water, but any discussion about drinking water safety must not ignore the one-quarter of Michigan residents who use private wells for their drinking water. We have a responsibility to protect families by letting them know what may be in their water and affecting the health of their families.”