Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder lays out budget plan

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LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Go. Rick Snyder said the state is in a better position than it was last year.

Snyder unveiled his budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol.

"The state is recovering nicely, but because of how real estate taxes work in our state, our schools and local jurisdictions could still have another rough couple of years. Longer term the prognosis is good but there are challenges the next year or two," Snyder said.

Slideshow: Local 4 in Lansing for budget address

Key points of Snyder's plan:

K-12 schools would receive a 1 percent funding increase compared to the money actually received in the current budget plan. Much of the additional money is set aside for schools that can seek "best practices" bonuses by offering dual enrollment or advanced placement courses, offering online or "blended" learning, and other practices. Another portion would be set aside for bonuses for school districts that can demonstrate academic achievement in math and reading for 3rd through 8th graders and in several subjects at the high school level. Districts would get $179 million toward teacher pension costs, similar to help they're receiving this year.

About $12.5 million would be added to this fiscal year's early education spending with part of the state budget surplus. About $115 million would go toward early education in the next fiscal year.
Increases funding for operations to Michigan's 15 public universities by 3 percent. The increase is tied to some improvements in graduation measures and also to limiting tuition increases to 4 percent or less.
State aid to community colleges would increase by 3 percent, with money distributed based on degrees earned in high-demand fields.

Michigan State Police would get a 16 percent funding boost from the state's general fund, an additional $43 million. Money would be used to help increase patrols in high crime areas and may lead to more troopers overall. More staff would be added to forensic crime labs.
About $15 million in "law enforcement enhancement" is expected to be detailed in Snyder's special message to the Legislature in March.
About $5 million would be set aside for a youth employment program in high crime areas. More details are expected in March.
More support would be provided to help the chronically unemployed, including those with prison records, find work.

Local governments would get increases in tax revenue sharing payments from the state, money that often is used to provide services such as police and fire departments. The portion of revenue sharing outlined in the state constitution would increase by 2 percent, or nearly $14 million. The portion outlined in state statute would increase by about $30 million. About $25 million would be set aside as incentives for communities that work to consolidate services. An incentive-based program for counties would replace some portions of county revenue sharing assistance.

About $4.5 million would be spent to support the state-appointed review teams that are deployed to review finances in struggling communities and school districts. The review teams are crucial in determining whether a city or school receives an emergency manager.

No major tax structure changes are proposed, a significant difference from last year's plan that led to new laws lowering overall business taxes and taxing some forms of retirement income for the first time.
A much-anticipated plan to eliminate or phase out a tax that some employers pay on equipment and furniture, called the personal property tax, is not in the budget proposal.

Keeps the state's film and movie incentive program capped at $25 million, the same level as this year.
Provides $25 million for "Pure Michigan" tourism advertising campaign.

Cancels four unpaid furlough days for union-represented state workers that had been planned for the current budget year. The furloughs aren't needed because of the state's projected budget surplus.

About $130 million would be added to the state's "rainy day" or budget stabilization fund.
Increases spending on state building maintenance.
Provides $50 million of ongoing funding for information technology improvements.


Sets aside $34 million for autism coverage in the Medicaid and MIChild programs. MIChild is a health insurance program for uninsured children.
Sets aside $15 million of state general fund money for insurance companies to provide coverage for autism treatments.
The state's Healthy Kids dental program would be expanded.

Takes $119 million out of the state's general fund to make sure the state spends enough on roads and bridges to get federal matching money. Snyder wants lawmakers to raise $1.4 billion in additional transportation funding, but there's no consensus on how that might be accomplished.

Snyder also held an online town hall meeting Thursday to take questions after presenting his budget proposal. 

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