Michigan lawmakers begin work today on the governor’s new $69.1 billion budget.
Here’s where that money goes if the Republican legislature agrees with the governor’s recommendations.
To start there is $2.5 million for State Police trooper recruit schools in the budget.
There’s another $15 million for the Pure Michigan ad campaign.
The tourism industry is supposed to kick in even more.
There’s $67 million for the state’s veteran’s homes.
A first time, $10 million, 12-week family leave program for state government employees is included.
There’s also a 2.5% boost in state aid for universities and community colleges
And when you add it all up, the House budget chair says it’s $69.1 billion with many new programs.
“Obviously we have concerns about the overall $69.1 billion number but we’ll take our time and dig into this to see how we got there,” explains Rep. Shane Hernandez.
The governor says she got to that number, in part, by suggesting the biggest increase in K-12 education in a generation.
She’s asking for:
(1) $225 Per Pupil Disadvantaged Schools
(2) $150 Per Pupil Richer Schools
(3) Gap Reduced: $340
State school superintendent Dr. Michael Rice says the governor is targeting extra dollars into those schools that have more special need students. In the past all districts were treated the same.
“Different kids have different needs and different needs have different costs and this budget begins to address those different costs for young people.”
When asked if it targets those schools that have more of these students than others, Rice explains, “That’s exactly right.”
Conservative Republican Rep. Matt Maddock looks at all that spending and concludes, “this is a do-good, predictable Democratic budget. 100, 200, 300, 65, 30 million. it just goes on and on.”
There’s been some grumbling among outstate Republicans that the governor has a bias toward southeast Michigan, at their expense.
Gov. Whitmer: “The people who would say that, that is a political talking point.”
Skubick: “Isn’t it true that the most citizens are in southeast Michigan so they get the biggest chunk?”
Gov. Whitmer: “If you did it by just pure numbers, people live where, I suppose you could crunch it to come to that conclusion but it wouldn’t be fair.”
Lawmakers will now slice and dice the governor’s proposals as the two sides try to find a middle ground on spending your tax dollars with a target of July first to get it done.
>>> This story has been edited to correct the length of the family leave program