Gov. Snyder's $56.8 billion budget recommendation emphasizes education and infrastructure
On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder proposed his final 2019 and 2020 budget recommendation to Michigan Senate and House of Representatives appropriations committees. The budget places a specific emphasis on changes in funding for schools, roads and infrastructure.
With a total budget of $56.8 billion, a 0.6 percent increase from the year before, K-12 schools would see an increase from $120 to $240 in foundation allowances per student. This increase is twice as large as the budget approved by lawmakers last year.
“What we need to continue to work on is seeing better outcomes with students in terms of achievement levels,” Snyder said in reference to standardized testing scores in a press release.
While state Rep. Fred Durhal III, D-Detroit, found the increase in K-12 funding to be “amazing,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Laura Cox, R- Livonia, stated some proposals would “cause angst” within the Republican Party.
“It’s a good thing he wants to increase (K-12 funding), but a lot of the devil is in the details on how he gets there,” Cox said.
In terms of road and infrastructure improvements, the budget recommendation proposes $175 million to repair state roads and a continued $150 million in income tax revenue for use in road maintenance. In addition, Snyder plans to increase landfill fees to remedy toxic waste sites and to implement an annual $5 water fee for infrastructure repairs, as well as $25 million to continue to alleviate the Flint water crisis.
While presenting the recommendation, protesters from Service Employees International Union chanted outside of the open meeting, calling upon legislators to implement fair wages and improved conditions for working people in reaction to Snyders proposed privatization of prison food service.
In a press release, Snyder explained the proposed budget would allow the state of Michigan to continue seeing the policies and investments implemented throughout his term in office.
“By continuing our relentless support of areas like education, safety and transportation, we maximize the impact of the strategic initiatives we have implemented over the years," Snyder said. "We need to ensure that the important work happening here in Michigan keeps accelerating.”
Other funding measures include monies directed toward Michigan State Police troopers, the Department of Corrections, Department of Natural Resources, the Sexual Assault and Prevention and Education Initiative, and investment in technology such as broadband access for rural areas.