Hildenbrand disappointed by ‘sales tax on the difference’ veto

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

LANSING, Mich. — In response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s veto of Senate Bills 94 and 95, state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, offered the following remarks:

“I am disappointed that taxpayers will not see the tax relief intended for them in Senate Bills 94 and 95. These bills would have sped up the implementation of an already existing state law that, over time, would eliminate the practice of charging sales tax on the value of a trade-in vehicle when purchasing new vehicles here in Michigan.

“While I am frustrated with this veto, I remain committed to working with the governor to identify the necessary revenue and address his concerns regarding the impact this legislation could have on the state budget. As the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am confident my colleagues and I can find this revenue in order to deliver tax relief to Michigan’s hardworking residents.”

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Reminder: Lawmakers honoring Vietnam era veterans at Grand Rapids event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; and Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford on Saturday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony next Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids. American Legion Post 258 Color Guard will present the colors.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be prepared, available for purchase and served by the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Post 258. Singer-songwriter Kelly Trudell will sing the national anthem, the “Armed Forces Medley” and “The Sound of Hope.” Trudell has been awarded the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award for her work with veterans, soldiers and their families.

Kowall has held numerous lapel pinning ceremonies, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Save the Date: Lawmakers announce Grand Rapids event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand and Sen. Pete MacGregor on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club, 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events that thank and honor the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Hildenbrand agreed.

“Those who serve in our military make unimaginable sacrifices on a daily basis,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “Many Vietnam veterans faced criticism from their fellow Americans when they returned home and never received the thanks they deserved. Our goal is to show them that they were not forgotten and that we appreciate their service to our country.”

MacGregor said he is looking forward to the event.

“Michiganders care deeply and have the utmost respect for our military veterans,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Unfortunately, those sentiments were not always communicated during the Vietnam era. It is fitting then, that during this 50th anniversary of that conflict, we make the time to publicly thank and commemorate the service and selfless sacrifices of those brave veterans who served during that time.”

Kowall has held numerous events, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Hildenbrand issues statement on Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

LANSING, Mich — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, offered the following statement regarding Thursday’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) in Lansing:

“Today’s meeting confirmed that the state’s economy continues to slowly improve and grow. Over the past several years we have implemented new reforms and policies that have allowed job providers to invest in our state, which has led to personal income growth for many Michigan residents.

“While revenues have stabilized, we still have many funding challenges that will require us to be diligent in our work and be good stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. We will prioritize our state spending on the core functions of government like public safety, education, health and infrastructure to continue building a better Michigan.

“I look forward to the governor’s budget presentation in February and beginning our development of the fiscal year 2017-18 state budget. It is my goal to once again conduct the budget process in an open and transparent manner and deliver an on-time and balanced budget that invests in the priorities of our state.”

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Hildenbrand veteran care legislation receives final approval

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would create a new Veterans Facility Authority in Michigan received final approval from Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday.

The four-bill package will provide Michigan’s veterans and their dependents with improved access to long-term care and the construction of new state-of-the-art facilities in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

“Our veterans have served our nation valiantly and deserve the best possible care,” said state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “This legislation will modernize the way our veterans homes operate and transform them into facilities that can quickly and easily adapt to the ever-changing nature of long-term care services.”

Senate Bill 1100, the main bill in the package, sponsored by Hildenbrand, is now Public Act 560 of 2016. Work will now continue with the appointment of members to serve on the new authority and proceeding with federal and state approval processes for the new facilities to be built in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorDaveHildenbrand.com/photowire.

Photo caption: Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, was joined by fellow legislators and officials from the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on Wednesday as Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 1100 into law.

 

 

 

Legislation to modernize Michigan veterans homes sent to governor

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s veterans and their dependents would see improved access to long-term care and new state-of-the-art facilities under reform legislation that received bipartisan support and was finalized by the Senate on Thursday.

“Our veterans have served our nation valiantly and deserve only the best possible care when they are in need of additional long-term care services,” said state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “This legislation will modernize the way our veterans homes operate. These reforms will help us finally transform our veterans homes into ones that can quickly and easily adapt to the ever-changing nature of the medical and long-term care industries in order to provide our veterans and their spouses with the highest level of care possible.”

The proposal would create the Michigan Veterans Facility Authority to establish new veterans facilities in the state, in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). The authority would focus first on construction of two new facilities, one replacing the aging facility in Grand Rapids, and a brand-new facility in Detroit to serve the large veterans population in that region. Last week the Legislature approved Senate Bill 800, a supplemental budget bill that provides the necessary funding to construct these two new facilities. The costs for these two projects will be funded with both state and federal funds.

SB 800 was signed by Gov. Snyder earlier this week.

MVAA would continue in its role of managing the existing facilities in Grand Rapids and Marquette while the new facilities are constructed. The Marquette home would continue to operate in its current building until the authority and MVAA are able to determine when constructing a new facility will be feasible. Investments have been made and continue to be funded at the Marquette home in an effort to improve the facilities for members residing there.

The bills give preference to existing employees when staffing new facilities and require the authority to consider national best practices and civil service commission rules and regulations when making operational and staffing decisions at the new homes.

“Since 2011 I have strived to ensure that our veterans across this state have a place to call home. I am pleased that the Legislature was able to come together to approve a solution to ensure that our cherished veterans will have better access to the long-term health care that they have earned, and provide new state-of-the-art facilities in more locations throughout our state,” said Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford.

The authority would be run by a board of nine and would be made up of professionals who have knowledge, skills or experience in long-term care and medicine. The board would include the director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; three members representing veterans service organizations; three members from the general public (one of whom must be from the Upper Peninsula); one member designated by the Senate majority leader; and one member designated by the speaker of the House.

One year after the second new facility opens, the MVAA director’s role as a board member would be replaced by a veteran with professional knowledge, skill or experience in long-term care, health care licensure or finance, or medicine. The board would then elect a new chairperson from the board membership.

The board must produce an annual report of its activities to the governor, Legislature and chairpersons of the respective legislative appropriations committees at the end of each fiscal year.

The four-bill package is the result of workgroup meetings that took place over several months earlier this year that involved members of the Legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, MVAA, and other veterans and health care organizations. The workgroup produced a report that, in addition to recommendations covered by this legislation, includes recommendations for further improvements.

The legislation builds upon improvements that have already been made at the MVAA and MVHS, following a Michigan Office of the Auditor General audit that revealed significant problems at the Grand Rapids home.

SBs 1097-1100 will now go to Gov. Snyder for final approval.

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Legislation introduced to modernize Michigan veterans’ homes

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s veterans and their dependents would see improved access to long-term care and new state-of-the-art facilities under bipartisan reform legislation introduced in the Senate and House on Wednesday.

“Our veterans have valiantly served our state and nation and deserve the best possible care,” said state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “This legislation will transform our existing veterans’ health care system and invest in critical new building projects in order to replace our existing, aging facilities.”

The proposal would establish the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority to begin the process of establishing new veterans’ facilities in the state. The authority would work in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). MVAA would continue for the time being in its role of managing the existing facilities in Grand Rapids and Marquette. Over time the new authority would take on additional responsibilities at the existing locations so that eventually the entire Michigan Veteran Health System (MVHS) would be under the authority.

This new legislation builds upon improvements that have already been made at the MVAA and MVHS, following a Michigan Office of the Auditor General audit that revealed significant problems at the home in Grand Rapids.

“Strides have been made to improve conditions for veterans and their families at the state homes, but more can be done to ensure their safety, quality of care, and in expanding housing options,” said Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan. “Health care and services are very complex issues at any level, and our recent experience shows Michigan needs more than a simple facility-manager approach as its primary system at the homes.

“Enacting an authority board with trained, knowledgeable health care experts, people focused on elder services and those with an eye to expanding care option possibilities for veterans across our state can help make Michigan a champion for veteran care in the nation as it improves on the newest successes around the country. Finally, applying innovative methods of accountability and oversight will allow a true partnership between the veterans, their families, and the state.”

The authority would be run by a board of nine, made up of professionals who have knowledge, skills or experience in long-term care and medicine. The board would include the director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA); three members representing veterans service organizations; three members from the general public (one of whom must be from the Upper Peninsula); one member designated by the Senate majority leader; and one member designated by the speaker of the House. The board must produce an annual report of its activities to the governor, Legislature and chairpersons of the respective legislative appropriations committees at the end of each fiscal year.

“Michigan veterans deserve the best, with no excuses,” said Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, who is the first Iraq War veteran elected to the Michigan Senate. “These bills provide us with a pathway to improving the quality of care at our existing state facilities while also increasing access to care for veterans across the state, especially those in Southeast Michigan, where our largest veteran population exists. We can’t wait any longer to take action.”

The four-bill, bipartisan, bicameral package is the result of workgroup meetings that took place over several months involving members of the Legislature, Gov. Snyder’s administration, MVAA, and other veterans and health care organizations. The workgroup produced a report that, in addition to recommendations covered by this legislation, includes recommendations for further improvements.

“In order to function at maximum efficiency, a new model for veterans care facilities in Michigan will need to be free from the bureaucratic maze of state government,” said Rep. David Rutledge, D-Ypsilanti. “We should locate care facilities close to large veteran population centers, they should partner with other community-based agencies and employ their own trained and career-minded staff. We owe our veterans no less than this level of responsiveness, and this legislation will make better care possible for countless Michigan veterans.”

SBs 1097-1100 and HBs 5919-5922 were introduced Wednesday in their respective chambers and will now begin the committee process where public testimony will be received on the proposal.

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Curtis Cleaners to accept donated men’s and women’s suits for our veterans

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Grand Rapids area Curtis Cleaners will collect donated suits at their four locations, dry clean them, and deliver them for veterans to use, state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand announced on Thursday.

This effort, modeled after the “Suits for Soldiers” organization in Southeast Michigan, will help our veterans as they look for employment after returning home from service. Chris Curtis from Curtis Cleaners reached out to Hildenbrand to help spread the word.

“Thank you to Curtis Cleaners for their generosity in supporting our veterans,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “They are a great family business with a long history of giving back to our community,” Hildenbrand said.

People interested in donating their used, but in good condition suits, can drop them off at any of the following Curtis Cleaners locations below during normal business hours or contact any location to schedule a free home pickup.

Lowell
1410 W. Main St.
Lowell, MI 49331
(616) 897-9809
Monday-Friday (7 a.m.-7:30 p.m.)
Saturday-Sunday (8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)

Grand Rapids
450 Michigan St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 451-4908
Monday-Friday (6 a.m.-10 p.m.)
Saturday- Sunday (7a.m.-10 p.m.)

Cascade
6640 28th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 940-3356
Monday-Friday (7 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Saturday (9 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Ada
6745 Fulton St.
Ada, MI 49301
(616) 682-9161
Monday-Friday (7 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Saturday (9 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Once the suits are cleaned, Curtis Cleaners will deliver them to Volunteers of America where staff with the Veteran Networking Job Club will store and facilitate getting the suits to veterans who can use them.

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Hildenbrand ready to work on state budget

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

Senator Dave Hildenbrand

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder presented his Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget recommendation on Wednesday to a joint meeting of the Senate and House Appropriations committees. State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, offered the following comments:

“The governor has once again presented us with a fiscally sound state budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee members will begin to examine the details of each individual department budget, making adjustments, and adding our own priorities. Fiscal oversight and accountability will be a key theme throughout this process.

“First, I was very pleased to see the governor’s budget proposal limits the growth of state government to 0.8 percent, well below the rate of inflation. Prioritizing our spending and limiting the size of government have been key priorities of mine throughout the budget processes.

“Secondly, we will continue to support the governor as he addresses the water crisis in Flint. The final product may look different, but we will not waver in our commitment to support the children and families affected by this tragedy.

“Finally, education funding continues to be a priority, and is reflected in the governor’s proposal. The increases in funding for both K-12 public education and our public higher education institutions will help ensure a strong public education for all of Michigan’s students and families.”

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Hildenbrand issues statement on Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference

LANSING — State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, offered the following statement regarding today’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference:

“Today’s revenue estimates show that the state’s economy continues to improve. Employment continues to rise as well as personal incomes, vehicle sales, and new home starts. Now that we have the revenue projections to work from, my colleagues and I can put the finishing touches on the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 state budget.

“As we continue these deliberations, it will remain a top priority to identify additional revenue to invest in our roads and bridges, as well as many other priorities, including education, public health and public safety.

“I am confident we can come to an agreement soon to deliver a sound, balanced state budget for the people of Michigan.”

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