Stamas: Budget builds on commitment to education, invests in fixing the roads

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday finalized a Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan that increases support for education and roads and strengthens the state’s finances, said Sen. Jim Stamas.

“I am proud to support a structurally balanced budget that continues our efforts to create a positive climate for creating jobs, prepare our students for success, protect our communities and natural resources and attract job creators and tourists to Michigan,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Budgets are about priorities. With this budget, we are improving the efficiency and effectiveness of state government, building on our commitment to education and putting an additional $400 million into fixing our crumbling roads.”

Senate Bill 133 contains budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches. It includes a $94 million deposit into the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund, reduces the state’s film credit, invests $4 million more into the Pure Michigan campaign and puts more resources into local revenue sharing and public safety. The bill puts more Department of Health and Human Services workers out into the community to continue to meet people’s needs.

House Bill 4115 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $15.8 billion. The bill includes increases for universities and community colleges, an additional $209 million for schools, and a $217 million increase in state contribution — for a total of $994 million — to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).

“This budget strengthens Michigan’s financial future, saves taxpayers billions of dollars by paying down our long-term debts, and increases our support of all levels of education,” Stamas said. “Every school will see increased investment with this budget. We will also be supporting our students with $31.5 million for third-grade reading initiatives and directing more dollars into the classroom by investing nearly $1 billion to reduce legacy costs.

“This plan also invests in skilled trades and preparing students for successful careers by increasing support for career and technical education to $36.6 million.”

Senate Bill 133 and House Bill 4115 now head to the governor to be signed. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.