LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – As the Legislature gears up to pass a record budget for next year totaling nearly $81 billion, MIRS has laid out the 10 significant, big-dollar differences between the Governor’s proposed budget and the spending plans passed by the House and Senate.
In general, the House focused more on K-12 education, while the Senate favored higher education. The House focused on environmental justice initiatives, while the Senate focused on economic development through improving local communities.
The Governor is big into electric vehicles, fixing state assets and keeping the economic development ball rolling.
Below are the details:
1. The Governor has used multi-million dollar direct grants to large corporations such as Gotion and Ford to lure them into making huge investments in Michigan. She’d like another $500 million put into her Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund, but the House balked and the Senate had some strings they wanted to attach to the money.
2. A $500 million, four-year program designed to help local governments spruce up their communities to make them more attractive for business development was a driving piece of the Senate’s Labor and Economic Growth (LEO) budget. The Michigan Partnership Initiative is the driving reason why the Senate’s LEO budget was substantially higher than the House’s or the Governor’s.
3. The House went big into replacing lead pipes, including $225 million for lead pipe removal in the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) budget and $100 million in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget for more filters, faucets and other lead-free plumbing in one million homes at risk for lead exposure. The House followed that up with another $100 million in environmental justice programs.
4. A few specific bridges the Governor wants repaired received $200 million in the Governor’s budget, but the House took a pass on the plan. They want to put $400 million into local roads. The Senate put $150 million into the bridges and $150 million into local roads.
5. Schools deemed at “at-risk” will receive more money, but the funding model and the level of investment are in question. The Senate created a tiered model that gives more money to districts with higher concentrations of poverty, while the House put in $100 million more than the Senate. In all, the House put nearly $500 million more into K-12 than the Senate and about $250 million more than the Governor.
6. The universities applauded when the Governor proposed a 4.5% state funding increase. They stood up and applauded when the House proposed 6.4% more. They threw a party when the Senate’s 16.3% increase was rolled out. Community colleges were a similar dynamic when the Governor proposed 3.9% more, the House 4.4% and the Senate 23.1%.
7. Direct care workers would see $1.50 more an hour under the Governor’s budget. The House budget went to $2.50 while the Senate moved the raise back to 65 cents an hour. For long-term care workers who aren’t nurses, the Governor wants them to get a $3.85-an-hour raise. The Senate was good for a $3 raise, while the House didn’t give them anything.
8. The Governor wants to move all 14,000 state-owned and leased vehicles to electric sooner than later. The House was on board at a cost of $10 million to begin the process; the Senate was looking at a slower transition, starting off with $2.5 million.
9. While not as high dollar as the other priorities in the budget, whether the state will pay off even a portion of Highland Park’s $24 million water debt is of concern to Southeast Michigan residents. If the state doesn’t pay it, who will? Highland Park doesn’t have any money. Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) asked for $20.3 million. The Senate also wants to help low-income people pay off their medical debt.
10. A $100 million “transformational rail and transit” program was put in the Senate budget, as was $50 million to clear up the oft-referenced railroad issue in Trenton. The Governor would rather sink more money to fix up state buildings and facilities, which neither the House or Senate was nearly as excited about.