Balanced state budget sent to governor

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LANSING – The Fiscal Year 2013 budget was finalized by the Legislature on Tuesday and is on its way to the governor to be signed, said Sen. Darwin Booher.

“The Legislature has completed a budget once again that is structurally balanced, supports key priorities like public safety and education and ensures state government lives within its means,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Most importantly, this budget builds on the reforms we made that are already creating a positive climate for creating jobs, which is the best solution to Michigan’s long-term challenges. The dollars generated by our improving economy are enabling us to continue to address our debts and enhance support for vital services.”

House Bill 5365 is an omnibus budget containing 13 budget bills for 15 principle state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches. The budget plan includes an additional $44 million for the Michigan State Police, part of which will go towards putting 180 new troopers on the road; $140 million to bring the state’s rainy day fund balance to $500 million; and additional dollars for revenue sharing, transportation infrastructure and reducing debts.

“With this budget, we continue to strengthen Michigan’s finances and save taxpayers billions of dollars by paying down our long-term debts and building up reserves in a rainy day fund,” Booher said. “The responsible plan holds spending under inflation, enhances state government accountability for how it spends taxpayer dollars and improves efficiency so that we are able to get the greatest value for the money.”

House Bill 5372 is an education omnibus budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges.

“I have a steadfast commitment to all levels of education and am proud that we were able to increase support for our universities and community colleges by 3 percent and invest an additional $200 million in our schools,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Appropriations Community Colleges subcommittee. “The additional school funding will help reduce the gap between the highest and lowest funded schools by raising the minimum foundation allowance by up to $120 per student.”

HB 5372 also includes an increase of $5 million for pre-school education and $80 million for schools that meet a series of best practices, such as measuring student growth twice a year.

“This balanced, responsible budget will provide critical services, help educate our children and prepare them for their careers, strengthen our finances and continue to improve our economy and create jobs so that we will be able to meet any future challenges,” Booher said.

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