Kowall applauds $1.1M business development grant

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced on Tuesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund has awarded a $1.1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to KPIT Infosystems, Inc. of Novi for a company expansion project.

“This is wonderful news not only for KPIT Infosystems, but for the city of Novi as well,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “KPIT is a leading global product engineering and solutions organization focused on the auto industry, and this project will benefit many in the community.”

With global delivery centers in India, Germany, China and the United States, KPIT develops building systems and software solutions in the areas of powertrain, alternate fuel technologies and electrification, infotainment, connectivity and telematics, and autonomous driving and vehicle systems.

The company plans to grow its Michigan presence by expanding at its current facility in Novi and later leasing a larger facility nearby. The project will generate a total capital investment of $2.8 million and create 171 high-paying, high-tech jobs.

“I was delighted when I heard that KPIT chose to expand in Novi rather than at a competing site in Indiana,” Kowall said.

The lawmaker said the city of Novi has offered staff time to support the company in its recruiting efforts.

Oakland Press: Begin to save wisely during College Savings Month

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

If you’re like most parents, you are at the same time a little sad yet also excited that school will be back in session in just a couple of weeks. Summertime is wonderful, but it’s good for children to get back into the schoolyear routine.

At this time of year many parents also begin to look down the road a ways, and they wonder where their young students will go to college — and how it will be paid for.

That’s a good thing, because even if your children are very young, it’s never too early to start thinking about saving for college.

Now is a great time to do so, because September has been designated College Savings Month.

There is good reason to start your educational savings earlier, rather than later. College is expensive, and the costs seem to constantly be rising. The longer you wait to save, the more difficult it becomes.

The average annual in-state college tuition in Michigan was $13,988 for the 2016-2017 academic year, placing Michigan as the 24th most expensive state for the cost of tuition.

That’s nearly $56,000 in tuition costs to earn a bachelor’s degree — assuming the student takes only four years to complete it.

Traditional student loans end up costing much more, of course, as high interest rates are tacked on to the cost of schooling.

Valuable savings tools to consider during College Savings Month are 529 plans. These plans help families set aside money now for college expenses in the future, like tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other fees or expenses.

Michigan offers two 529 plans: The Michigan Educational Savings Program and the Michigan Education Trust.

The MESP is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that helps families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. A 529 college savings plan helps you save more over time. Any earnings grow free from federal tax, and withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified higher education expenses.

The MESP enables parents, grandparents, family, friends, students and even employers to help families prepare their children for college.

The MET is the state’s prepaid 529 plan, which enables you to buy college credit hours at current rates and avoid the inflated costs of future tuition. You can get your child started on an MET plan for as low as $14 a month.

For more information on the Michigan Educational Savings Program, visit www.misaves.com. The site includes a free college savings planning calculator at www.misaves.com/tools/calculator to help get you started.

For more information on the Michigan Education Trust, visit www.michigan.gov/setwithmet.

Take some time during College Savings Month to research these programs and find a plan that works for your family!

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Spinal Column: Begin to save wisely during College Savings Month

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

If you’re like most parents, you are at the same time a little sad yet also excited that school will be back in session in just a couple of weeks. Summertime is wonderful, but it’s good for children to get back into the schoolyear routine.

At this time of year many parents also begin to look down the road a ways, and they wonder where their young students will go to college — and how it will be paid for.

That’s a good thing, because even if your children are very young, it’s never too early to start thinking about saving for college.

Now is a great time to do so, because September has been designated College Savings Month.

There is good reason to start your educational savings earlier, rather than later. College is expensive, and the costs seem to constantly be rising. The longer you wait to save, the more difficult it becomes.

The average annual in-state college tuition in Michigan was $13,988 for the 2016-2017 academic year, placing Michigan as the 24th most expensive state for the cost of tuition.

That’s nearly $56,000 in tuition costs to earn a bachelor’s degree — assuming the student takes only four years to complete it.

Traditional student loans end up costing much more, of course, as high interest rates are tacked on to the cost of schooling.

Valuable savings tools to consider during College Savings Month are 529 plans. These plans help families set aside money now for college expenses in the future, like tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other fees or expenses.

Michigan offers two 529 plans: The Michigan Educational Savings Program and the Michigan Education Trust.

The MESP is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that helps families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. A 529 college savings plan helps you save more over time. Any earnings grow free from federal tax, and withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified higher education expenses.

The MESP enables parents, grandparents, family, friends, students and even employers to help families prepare their children for college.

The MET is the state’s prepaid 529 plan, which enables you to buy college credit hours at current rates and avoid the inflated costs of future tuition. You can get your child started on an MET plan for as low as $14 a month.

For more information on the Michigan Educational Savings Program, visit www.misaves.com. The site includes a free college savings planning calculator at www.misaves.com/tools/calculator to help get you started.

For more information on the Michigan Education Trust, visit www.michigan.gov/setwithmet.

Take some time during College Savings Month to research these programs and find a plan that works for your family!

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Kowall: Thousands of miles of state trails are free this weekend

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday reminded residents and visitors of this weekend’s free off-road vehicle event statewide.

Michigan’s second Free ORV Weekend of the year will take place this Saturday, Aug. 18 and Sunday, Aug. 19.

“If you’re looking for adventure, the Free ORV Weekend is your perfect opportunity,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “You can test Michigan’s superb off-road trails and consider purchasing an ORV license or season permit.”

Over the weekend, neither an ORV license nor a trail permit will be required to ride the routes and trails designated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The weekend event includes nearly 3,700 miles of off-road trails and the state’s five scramble areas — St. Helen’s Motorsport Area, Black Lake Scramble Area, Silver Lake State Park, Bull Gap and The Mounds.

Kowall said all other ORV rules and laws still apply and a Recreation Passport is required where applicable.

Throughout the year, fees generated through ORV licenses and trail permits are reinvested into the ORV system. The money helps fund trail expansion, maintenance and infrastructure improvements such as bridge and culvert construction and repair, law enforcement, and the offsetting of damage created by illegal use of the trails.

Find more information, including ORV trail maps and a link to the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws, at www.michigan.gov/orvinfo.