Schmidt: 2018 budget supports key Michigan priorities

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt said on Thursday that the Legislature has finalized a fiscal year 2018 budget that will maintain the state’s commitment to education, public safety and job creation.

“We have completed a fiscally responsible budget months ahead of schedule,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This budget is good for the state and it is good for the 37th Senate District.”

House Bill 4323 contains budgets for state departments and the judicial and legislative branches.

The measure supports $3.4 million for classroom renovations and expanded learning spaces for North Central Michigan College. The bill also includes $100,000 for the Beaver Island Rural Health Center and $100,000 for the Mackinac Island Medical Center.

“This funding is great news for the residents of Petoskey and these two islands,” Schmidt said. “North Central students will benefit from the upgrades to the college, and the money for the island clinics will maintain essential health services.”

HB 4313 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $16.6 billion.

The K-12 budget, which is nearly $14.6 billion, includes the key provision of “2x funding,” in which the lowest-funded school districts in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive up to twice as much of an increase as the higher-funded districts. Base funding for those districts will include a $120 increase per student plus an additional $25 for each high school student.

The bill also features $300,000 in funding for the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver.

“The Indian Tuition Waiver is important for the entire state and critical for helping to ensure that the thousands of Native Americans living in the district are able to pursue higher education, per the 1836 Treaty of Washington,” Schmidt said.

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2018 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.