Senate passes balanced budget plan

The Senate recently approved a responsible fiscal year 2020 budget plan that uses existing resources to help improve Michigan for families, workers and job creators.

The plan increases funding for our roads and schools to record levels without depending on a massive $2.5 billion tax hike on Michigan families. In fact, under this plan, we will have increased our annual transportation spending by more than $1.75 billion in a decade and boosted annual state funding for schools by more than $2.6 billion over the past several years.

The K-12 School Aid budget would invest $15.2 billion in education, a total increase of nearly $400 million.

Schools would see a foundation allowance boost of between $135 and $270 per pupil — the largest per-pupil increase in 18 years and $107 million more of a foundation allowance increase than the governor’s plan.

We are also investing an additional $132 million entirely to local roads — fully implementing $1.2 billion from the 2015 roads plan a year ahead of schedule. Discussions can and will continue on additional funding for our roads, but we need to press forward and fulfill our other responsibilities with the resources that we currently have. It’s one of our top jobs to pass a balanced budget on time — and we owe that to all Michigan families.

The Senate-passed budget includes an additional $51.2 million for constitutional revenue sharing for local governments, graduates 85 new state police troopers and invests $120 million for drinking water protections.

It would also restore the governor’s planned funding cuts to programs that improve access to OB-GYN services in rural areas, strengthen rural hospitals, boost the number of medical residents in underserved areas, and support skilled trades training.

I am proud of the smart investments made in this budget, and I look forward to working with my House colleagues and the governor to finalize a state budget on time that addresses the priorities and pocketbooks of the people of Michigan.