LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday proposed a $54.9 billion budget for the fiscal year set to begin in October, not including supplemental needs he detailed for the current fiscal year. The GOP-controlled Legislature will consider the legislation in the coming months and likely approve a plan in early June.
The governor, who has apologized for his administration’s role in the lead contamination of Flint’s water supply, proposed $195 million more to address the crisis, on top of $37 million previously approved. It includes $25 million to replace lead services lines in the highest-risk homes, $30 million to help residents and businesses with water bills and $50 million that would be set aside in a reserve fund for future needs.
Snyder, who said Michigan’s infrastructure gets a “D” grade, proposed a new $165 million statewide fund to help other local governments upgrade known lead and copper services lines and make other infrastructure improvements. Once a commission makes recommendations, Snyder and the Legislature would decide how the money is split and which communities receive it. It is money Snyder normally would have proposed to add to the state’s savings account.
Snyder proposed a minimum $60 per pupil increase, from $8,169 to $8,229, for districts that get the basic level of funding and a maximum $120 boost for districts receiving the minimum allowance, from $7,391 to $7,511. The increase would range from 0.7 percent to 1.6 percent. The total school aid budget would rise 2 percent to $14 billion.
Snyder proposed spending $720 million over a decade to restructure the Detroit Public Schools, wiping out operating debt and launching a new district. Instead of directly limiting funding for other districts — which Snyder has proposed in the past — his plan would shift the funding from Michigan’s yearly payments from tobacco companies under a 1998 settlement.
Snyder proposed fully restoring the aggregate operations funding for 15 state universities to what it was when he took office. In his first year, 2011, he and lawmakers cut the spending by 15 percent to help resolve a budget deficit. The funding would rise 4.3 percent, or $61 million. Universities could not qualify for the full amount unless they keep tuition hikes to no more than 4.8 percent — a threshold the Legislature may lower in negotiations.
Snyder proposed expanding his “Secure Cities” program so state police troopers patrol in more cities. They currently are based in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw. His plan would spend an additional $1.5 million to add Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster and Muskegon Heights. He also called for $18 million to train 85 new trooper recruits and 350 more corrections officers.
Snyder called for providing dental care for all low-income kids in every Michigan county, bringing the total covered to nearly 827,000 — compared to 285,000 who were covered when he took office. He also proposed $135 million for expensive specialty medicines to treat nearly 7,000 Medicaid patients and 340 prisoners with Hepatitis C and 320 children with cystic fibrosis.
Snyder proposed boosting a yearly clothing allowance for children on welfare, from $140 to $200, and extending eligibility to 25,000 more children.
Snyder proposed spending $15 million — including $5 million in local matching dollars — to replace voting equipment. Most machines are more than 10 years old.
Snyder called for $2.8 million to implement an e-filing system to encourage residents to file their Michigan tax returns on the Internet for free. About 80 percent of residents e-file their returns. The initiative is aimed at those who still file via paper.