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New MI House panels will focus on housing, behavioral health

Reginald Hardwick

As Democrats make plans for assuming control in Lansing next year, the incoming budget chair for the new state House majority says finding the elusive solution for funding roads and a focus on affordable housing will be 2023 priorities.

State Representative Angela Witwer is part of the new state House leadership team and will chair the important House Appropriations Committee. She told Michigan Public Television’s “Off The Record” that some type of mileage tax is on the table.

“I do want to look at that,” she said. “I know that other states are looking at it also as we transition from gasoline to electric. We’re going to have to look at something a little different.”

“We’re going to be looking at different ways that other states have done things and bringing things forward. It looks like the governor is currently looking at a useage-per-mile. We’ll have to look at something eventually.”

Next year, the House and the Senate will be controlled by Democrats for the first time in decades. They’ll be working with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is also a Democrat.

Witwer helped create the new committee structure for the 2023-24 session. She said a new subcommittee will focus specifically on affordable housing, which is a growing issue.

Witwer said employers won’t locate in Michigan if workers can’t find places to live within an easy commuting distance to their jobs.

And we’re also going to do a subcommittee on behavioral health,” she said. “We have a real problem.”

The American Medical Association includes stress, mental health and substance abuse in its definition of behavioral health.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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