Final Piece of State's Budget Passes

By: Lindsay Veremis
By: Lindsay Veremis

Michigan's budget is on its way to the Governor's desk, after lawmakers in the State Senate made their final votes Tuesday on education funding.

This is now the second year lawmakers have been ahead of schedule with the $48.2 billion budget.

Both chambers have now approved $14.6 billion for public schools and higher education. The measure passed the house last week in a rare Friday session.

The 2013 spending plan increases K-12 spending 1.6 percent and gives universities an overal three percent boost.

The Senate's Tuesday vote has lawmakers missing their self-imposed June 1st deadline by just four days, a far cry from budget cycles of the past that often stretched into late September.

Governer Rick Snyder says the budget progress will help schools and municipalities plan their own budgets, giving them the time and numbers they need to prepare.

"Bad legislation is done in the middle of the night and so it's very important to move these things in a timely fashion," State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge said.

Democrats say the budget may be timely, but argue it's not good for the state.

"I don't think I would have a problem sticking around for another couple of weeks if it meant better results for our communities, for our children," State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-8th District said.

Hopgood says the modest increase to education this year, does little to make up for the drastic cuts of last.

"We're increasing class sizes through this budget and really kind of cutting back on educational opportunties," Hopgood added.

Snyder defends the plan. He says Michigan needed to trim more $1.5 billion last year and is now returning what it can to schools and municipalities.

"Education is important, but it's not about spending money on education," Snyder said. "It's about having student growth go on and focusing on the kids."

Lawmakers say they are expecting to adjourn for the summer two weeks early this year, given the progress on the budget. That will give house members extra time to campaign for the primaries in August and general election in November.


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