LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Jon Bumstead on Wednesday said that the Senate fiscal year 2020 budget plan approved by the Senate this week reaches record funding levels for schools and roads while ensuring the state stays within its means.
“We are funding the full implementation of the 2015 plan and putting additional money into our roads,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “With this plan fully funded, we will have increased our state’s annual transportation spending by more than $1.2 billion over the past five years. This will also allow us to start considering future plans for additional funds without going to the taxpayers for a handout.”
The Senate plan would invest $15.2 billion in education, a total increase of nearly $400 million from last year’s budget. 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. Also included is money to support skilled trades training to get workers into high-demand jobs.
“We’re working to eliminate the per pupil funding gap,” Bumstead said. “We want everyone on a level playing field, and there are various challenges to that. The governor called for increased foundation allowances using a 1.5x formula, which would have amounted to an increase between $120 and $180 per pupil. We went a step further and increased foundation allowances between $135 and $270 per pupil using a 2x formula — which will decrease the gap in funding more quickly.”
The plan approved Wednesday also includes $120 million to monitor and analyze water quality throughout the state. The money will be used to fund a number of measures. It would add the $120 million to current efforts to address water quality issues such as PFAS and other contaminants; Lead and Copper Rule implementation; well testing; Drinking Water Revolving Fund loan forgiveness; and more.
Also included is funding for Michigan’s community colleges and universities; $51.2 million in revenue sharing to assist local governments; money to train and graduate 85 new state police troopers; strengthened protections for rural hospitals; and money to be saved for a rainy day.
“This is the next step toward getting our budget done ahead of schedule,” Bumstead said. “I am proud of the plan we have put together. It responsibly addresses urgent state issues and funds essential programs without a tax increase. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor to finalize a balanced budget on time that reflects the needs of our state, along with taxpayer priorities.”
The budget bills now head to the House for consideration.