Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a state budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2013, that lawmakers put the finishing touches on earlier this month.
“This budget allows Michigan to continue moving forward by spending below the rate of inflation, paying down our debt and putting money in our savings account,” said state Rep. Chuck Moss (R-Orchard Lake), the chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee. “It’s about being cautiously optimistic at a time when we are seeing positive steps with regard to our economy and state budget outlook.”
The new budget for K-12 education comes in at about $12.94 million, a $200 million increase from the 2011-12 fiscal year, while community colleges will get about $294 million and universities will share nearly $1.4 billion under the omnibus education spending plan.
Democrats called the maximum $120 per-pupil increase in state funding some school districts will receive under next fiscal year’s budget insufficient considering significant hits districts took under the current fiscal year’s budget, which expires on Sept. 30.
“We need to do our part to make sure our kids are ready for the jobs of tomorrow or to enter college when they graduate from high school,” said state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods). “Our schools can’t do that when they are saddled with steep cutbacks year after year. Last year, the Republicans who lead the Legislature took nearly $1 billion from our schools. This year, they want to restore just $200 million and call that an increase.”
Huron Valley Schools is expected to receive an $18 increase in its per-pupil foundation allowance under the budget, from $6,948 to $6,966. The other three school districts serving the lakes area — West Bloomfield, Walled Lake and Waterford — will receive no increase or decrease in state funding for 2012-13.
“This budget is a just a futile attempt by the Senate Republicans to paper over all of the damage they have done to our kids’ schools, seniors’ pensions and crucial state services over the last two years, but I know, and the people know, where their loyalties really lie — with their rich corporate cronies and shady special interests,” said state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing).
In addition to the over $14.6 billion in education spending, the budget plan calls for $3.46 billion for the Michigan Department of Transportation, another $338 million for the state Department of Natural Resources and $431 million for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The state Department of Human Services and Department of Community Health are expected to receive a total of roughly $21.5 billion — $6.5 billion for Human Services and $15 billion for Community Health.
“Last year we had to make some tough decisions on the budget to get state spending in line,” said state Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-Highland, White Lake). “Now that the state is back on solid financial ground we are able to focus on the long-term and reinvest in critical programs.”
Through the state Department of Treasury, the total allocation for constitutional state-shared revenue payments to local governments is roughly $725 million, an increase of about $28 million from the 2011-12 fiscal year. The Economic Vitality Incentive Program, which took the place of statutory state-shared revenue disbursements under the Snyder administration, is expected to come in at $225 million total.
A breakdown of how much the 11 lakes area communities will receive under those programs was unavailable prior to press time.
The state budget also factored in a hit of $100 million that’s expected by passage of legislation (House Bills 5699 and 5700), which calls for an early reduction of the state income tax from 4.35 percent to 4.25 percent on Oct. 1 instead of Jan. 1, 2013.
Democrats had made calls to lower the tax rate to 3.9 percent, but that effort was scuttled.