Legislature completes 2014-2015 state budget

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The Michigan legislature completed work on the 2014-2015 state budget last week. We passed a structurally balanced budget that makes important investments in our schools, our roads and our communities. This budget builds upon past reforms so that young people will not be forced to leave Michigan to find work. It also holds government accountable for every tax dollar spent.

Since I was elected in 2010, we have put $1.3 billion more into K-12 education. This budget invests $662 million more than last year in our state’s public schools, community colleges and universities. Every school district is getting an average of $500 more per pupil to help pay for teacher retiree costs that are increasing every year. By paying down these costs, schools are able to direct more dollars into the classrooms.

Michigan’s four year colleges and universities will receive a 5.9% increase. I have maintained my commitment to keeping college costs down and more affordable by implementing a 3.2% cap on tuition increases if universities want to receive their full state funding. Community colleges, which traditionally specialize in vocational and other career training, receive a 3% increase to prepare Michigan’s workforce for the good paying jobs of today and tomorrow. Every student deserves an opportunity to learn and we continue to support education as a lifelong model from pre-kindergarten into the workforce.

This budget and other reforms will also invest an additional $850 million in our roads and infrastructure over the next year and I am optimistic that we will see a permanent funding solution before the end of the legislative session. More than $1.2 billion of tax revenue is returned through revenue sharing to local governments that provide services closest to the people, and additional reforms to our corrections system will save millions of dollars while protecting public safety by keeping violent offenders behind bars.

This is a responsible, long-term approach to budgeting that pays down billions in debt and makes necessary investments in our future. The fiscal year begins on October 1.

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