Whitmer budget includes more than 140 fee hikes totaling $27.6M, including on healthcare

Whitmer budget includes more than 140 fee hikes totaling $27.6M, including on healthcare

All proposed fee hikes are double- or even triple-digit percentage increases.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a $67 billion state budget Feb. 11 that includes $27.6 million in fee increases – from driving-record lookup fees to mammograms.

If passed, Whitmer’s budget would hike more than 140 different fees by double- and triple-digit percentages across several departments.

While many sources of revenue have declined, overall spending would increase to $67 billion from $62.8 billion this year.

“There will be common themes between the governor’s recommendation and our developing proposal – and there will also be sharp differences,” said state Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, reacting to Whitmer’s budget proposal. “We must remember that state tax revenues are declining sharply – our finances are propped up by artificial and temporary federal COVID relief. It’s not sustainable,” Albert added.

Here’s a look at some of the many fee increases Michiganders may face Oct. 1 if the Legislature decides to pass Whitmer’s budget in its current form:

  • Eight different fees related to mammograms and X-rays would face 20% increases – effectively ranging from $9 to $237.
  • The fee the Secretary of State’s office charges business owners to look up a driving record would increase to $15 from $11, taking $19 million from Michigan businesses.
  • Michiganders would also be charged $15 for a traffic crash report from the Michigan State Police – an increase from $10 currently – which the budget proposal estimates will bring in $300,000 in new revenue.

Whitmer’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE, is also seeking a series of fee increases, especially targeting development on bodies of water and wetlands:

  • EGLE would hike training and certification fees for professionals that handle drinking water, storm water, and municipal and industrial wastewater. The fee increases range from 47% to 233%.
  • Another series of fee hikes would hit construction development in areas of floodplains, wetlands, inland lakes and streams, dam safety, state lands, subdivisions, golf courses, condominiums, and marinas. For example, the fee for an application for a floodplain permit would increase to $1,330 from $500.
  • Permit application fees for developments, such as new condominiums and subdivisions, in wetland or floodplain areas, would increase to $5,320 from $2,000.
  • Permits to operate municipal storm water systems would increase by 27% according to Whitmer’s proposal.

Michigan workers are already suffering under one of the nation’s worst jobs climates.

A budget hiking fees on basic services only adds insult to injury.

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