Legislature sends budget to governor

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Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature passed a fiscal year 2019 budget on Tuesday that includes increases in road funding and K-12 education and a hefty investment in school safety, said Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall.

The combined 2018 and 2019 budgets include $58 million for school safety and $330 million more in road funding — bringing the total new investment in Michigan roads to $2.4 billion since 2017.

“Under this budget, most schools will see the largest per-pupil increase in 17 years, once again increasing funding for our schools to record levels,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “We continue to encourage economic growth and make government more efficient and effective with taxpayer dollars.”

Kowall said that the budget demonstrates Senate Republicans’ commitment to fiscal responsibility. The state’s rainy day fund has been increased to $1 billion — from a $1.8 billion structural deficit eight years ago — and for the eighth consecutive year, Senate Republicans have balanced the budget ahead of schedule.

Some of the budget highlights include:

Education
The K-12 budget invests $14.8 billion in education, which is the most in state history. The K-12 foundation allowance has been increased between $120 and $240 per pupil, representing the largest per-pupil increase for most schools in 17 years. With this budget, state funding for our schools will have increased by $2.2 billion since fiscal year 2011.

School Safety
The budget invests $58 million in school safety initiatives to keep our students safe. This includes increased funding of $3 million for the OK2SAY program, an investment of $30 million for mental health support services within schools, and increased funding for school safety security grants to $25 million.

Jobs and the Economy
The budget fully funds the $100 million Marshall Plan for Talent initiative and invests $40.9 million in Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

Fixing Michigan’s Roads
The budget puts an additional $330 million into fixing our roads and bridges. With this budget, we will have cumulatively added a total of $2.4 billion to our roads since 2017 as a result of the road funding package and prioritized spending.

“Michigan’s recovery from the barren years of the lost decade is a strong one,” Kowall said. “Today’s budget continues to emphasize the importance of jobs, the economy and schools.”

The budget now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law.