2013-02-28 / Lifestyles

State budget outlines investment ‘blueprint’

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder recently presented to the Legislature his recommended fiscal year 2014 state budget, an investment blueprint that moves Michigan forward and continues its emergence as the nation’s comeback state.

The recommended budget invests in priorities such as roads, education, health, human services, job growth and public safety.

“It’s clear that Michigan is on the comeback,” Snyder said. “We are creating more jobs, our unemployment rate has improved, personal income for families is increasing, and our population is growing again. The measures we have taken to fix our tax system and get our budget in long-term balance are paying dividends. I am pleased to recommend a budget that keeps the momentum moving in the right direction.”

The overall reduction in the state’s post-retirement liabilities since the governor has taken office is $21.3 billion, including $15.6 billion related to school employee pension changes and $5.7 billion related to state employee pension reforms. With a current state population of 9,883,360, that translates to over $2,200 in savings per person.

Highlights of the recommended budget include:

Educating our Children

• An additional $130 million over the next two years ($65 million in FY 2014) for early childhood education to establish a strong foundation for effective learning through the state’s Great Start Readiness Program, which has been successful in providing preschool programs for four-year old children who may be at risk of school failure.

• A total of $11.5 billion in state funds for K-12, an increase of over two percent. The recommendation includes an equity payment to further close the foundation allowance funding gap between districts. The K-12 budget also supports online and blended learning by creating and maintaining a statewide catalog of online courses.

Driving the Economy Forward: Investing in Infrastructure

• An additional $1.2 billion to adequately maintain and improve Michigan’s roads, which will continue to deteriorate without greater investment.

Supporting Job Creation

• An additional $27.5 million to grow Michigan’s economy through business development and community revitalization efforts, including $20 million for a new debt financing program providing creative financing solutions to assist banks and other lenders to extend capital in underserved communities.

Bolstering Human Services

• A total of $6.2 million to expand the Pathways to Potential service delivery model that puts the state’s social workers in local communities where they can directly and more easily connect with clients.

• A total of nearly $970 million in Michigan’s child welfare system to provide child welfare services for abused and neglected children.

Serving Veterans

• A total of $8.6 million to create a new agency within the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs to focus directly on improving services to 700,000 veterans who have bravely served the state and our nation, helping connect veterans with the services they need.

Making Michigan Safer

• A total of $15.2 million to train an additional 107 troopers through the Michigan State Police Training Academy to patrol Michigan roadways and communities, helping to protect and improve public safety all across Michigan.

Encouraging Good Government, Innovation

• A total of $268.1 million for the Economic Vitality and County Incentive programs, providing incentive-based payments to local units of government meeting best practices; an addition $855.1 million provides constitutional and county revenue sharing payments.

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