Senate approves fiscal year 2019 budget

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved a package of bills that would fund the state of Michigan for the 2019 fiscal year.

“After seven years of balanced budgets being completed ahead of schedule, we are moving to year eight with the same momentum,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “We have worked very hard in recent years to get our finances in the right place and this fiscally responsible budget will continue to help the amazing comeback that Michigan has experienced thus far.”

Schmidt noted that he was especially pleased with the commitment to our state’s education system.

“The state spends more than $14 billion annually on schools, but with growing needs comes a larger price tag,” Schmidt said. “In order to provide students with only the best educational opportunities, we have once again appropriated record amounts to the K-12 Budget. Schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $115 and $230 per pupil — which is the largest per-pupil increase in over 10 years.”

This “2X” funding formula allows districts at the minimum foundation allowance to receive two times the amount of that increase. This means larger investments for students across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Most northern and Upper Peninsula schools are at the base amount so the $230 is another step in closing the gap between northern Michigan and southeast Michigan.

Schmidt said he was also happy to see more funding for our state’s roads.

“I have heard from folks all over my district at my coffee hours and other meetings that we need to fix the roads,” Schmidt said. “When combining this budget with the recent road funding package, the Legislature will have invested $2.1 billion in our roads since 2017.”

The 2019 budget also includes money to hire 100 new state police troopers and train 80 additional troopers, hire more corrections workers and conservation officers, increase revenue sharing for localities to spend on local operations, invest $7 million to support rural hospitals, further improve sexual assault programs on our state’s campuses and boost Pure Michigan tourism promotion funding by $1 million.

“I applaud my colleagues for approving a budget that addresses our challenges, provides essential services and makes smart investments in our future,” Schmidt said. “We were able to improve public safety and conservation efforts, increase K-12 funding, invest in our economy and increase investments in our roads, all while ensuring the state lives within its means.”

Senate Bills 850-865 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the fiscal year 2019 budget is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.