Snyder signs $49B budget
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder signed a nearly $49 billion state budget on Thursday that sets aside more money for fixing deteriorating roads and providing preschool to low-income children.
The spending plan, which goes into effect Oct. 1, is about 1 percent bigger than the current year. Snyder exercised few line-item vetoes, though one deals with a high-speed rail project in southwestern Michigan.
Overall spending for public K-12 schools will increase about 3 percent, and public universities cannot raise tuition more than 3.75 percent without losing some funding available to them.
The budget plan blocks Snyder’s administration from paying to implement a set of more rigorous national standards in reading, writing and math – standards he supports – until the GOP-led Legislature says it is OK. But about 16,000 more disadvantaged 4-year-olds will be eligible for preschool, part of Snyder’s plan to double the Great Start Readiness program over two years.
The budget includes an additional $350 million to fix deteriorating roads and bridges – a significant one-time expenditure due to higher-than-expected income tax collections but far short of the $1.2 billion a year that would be raised under Snyder’s stalled increase in gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees.
Snyder’s request to expand Medicaid eligibility to more poor adults is not included in the budget, though lawmakers are working to approve Medicaid expansion before they break next week.
Another $75 million is put into savings, bringing the rainy day fund to nearly $600 million. It was nearly empty when Snyder took office.
Democrats, outnumbered in the Legislature, have said the budget does not include enough money for education after cuts were made by Snyder and Republicans in 2011.