(Courtesy: Detroit Free Press)
WZZM crew at the Capitol
Gov. Rick Snyder prepares to present the 2012-2013 budget.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is tying lots of strings to the extra cash he's offering public schools, universities and communities in next year's budget.
The Governor unveiled the states $48.2-billion budget this morning in Lansing.
After a decade of deficits, Michigan heads into the next budget year in the black. Snyder wants to use rising revenues to increase money for schools, higher education and public safety.
Here are some of the highlights from the budget which takes effect in October:
-- 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.
State Rep. Brandon Dillon, a Grand Rapids democrat who sits on the budget committee, said education deserved a bigger boost. "We've got the money in the school aid fund to increase funding to districts even more - I think that's what we should be doing" he told WZZM 13's Peter Ross
-- 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.
State senator Mark Jansen, a Kent County republican, remarked that building a budget at a time of increasing revenues was a marked departure from what he's been used to over the past decade in Lansing. " Things are looking a little better - looks like we'll score big in the state of Michigan in the future things are definately turning" he said after Snyder's presentation.
-- 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.
STATE GOVERNMENT SAVINGS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
-- 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.
ROADS AND TRANSPORTATION
-- 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.
WELFARE AND HUMAN SERVICES
-- The basic rate for foster care parents would be increased by $3 a day.
-- A state program that provides $60 million in home heating assistance for low-income residents would be continue to be raised through utility ratepayers.
-- Provides a $10 million increase for environmental cleanups related to a refined petroleum fund.
-- Adds $5 million from the state's general fund to obtain federal grants for drinking water projects
Governor Snyder was so happy with how his town hall meeting on Facebook went after last month's State of the State address that he's holding another one tonight. He's taking your questions about the budget.
Viewers can watch the hour-long town hall meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Rick Snyder for Michigan Facebook page.
Questions can be submitted in advance at www.michigan.gov/townhall .
They also can be posted on Snyder's Facebook wall or sent on Twitter to @OneToughNerd using the hashtag #AskGovSnyder. Questions also can be submitted through Facebook and Twitter once the meeting has started.