Education Holding Up Budget

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Not a done deal.

That's what House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, is saying about the budget Tuesday after reports he was comfortable moving forward with $1.2 billion in cuts the Senate has proposed.

"We have a process that's moving things forward aggressively, but there are still open ends we need to resolve before I would say we have a deal," Dillon tells us Tuesday.

The open ends Dillon speaks of are four key areas that the Senate wants to cut, but he doesn't. Those are higher education, early childhood education, Medicaid and local revenue sharing.

The Senate wants to eliminate the "Promise Scholarship," which helps send kids to college. It also proposes to cut school readiness programs, which prepare little ones for their formal education.

Dillon just doesn't feel comfortable with those decisions.

"We're going to continue to fight for those in the House. If we can get a process that assures us we're going to get our priorities taken care of, I think you'll see this move forward," he says of the budget.

"We've got a lot of work to do yet," says Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

Bishop stands by his proposed cuts to Medicaid, local police and fire, and education, because he thinks it's the solution we need right now.

"We stand firm in our position to not have a tax increase. We think it does not send the right message or get the job done," Bishop says.

The Senate plan would reduce per pupil funding by $110 a student, but could impact schools even more with cuts to math, science and other educational grants.

But with our children's educational future a major point of contention, this budget is far from settled.

Wednesday should be a bigger day in the House; we're told representatives should start voting on Senate budget bills. Eleven out of 15 are looking like they'll pass.


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