The State of Michigan has a new budget. The Legislature passed the last piece of legislation for the spending plan around 4:20 a.m. Wednesday.
After some nine months of debate, the Legislature passed a new state budget, calling for $9.7 billion in general fund spending.
The new budget year started October 1. But at that time, lawmakers passed a one month budget extension to avoid a government shutdown. The October first deal also raised taxes by $1.3 billion. The budget extension expires at midnight October 31. So, lawmakers worked almost 18 hours straight on 17 state budget bills.
The Department of Natural Resources did not get the fee increases it asked for. Instead, 14 conservation officers will be laid off. DNR will also dock all of it's research vessels on the Great Lakes. Starting October 1, 2008, the DNR plans to close 37 state parks and recreation areas.
The Department of Human Services will close the Maxey Boys Center in Southeast Michigan. The new plan also encourages more privatization of adoption and other child care services.
Three state prisons will close and the state will make more use of GPS tracking devices for parolees.
Education spending will increase by about 1% for Kindergarten through 12th grade schools. Low funded school districts will receive more per pupil than higher funded districts. Universities and Community Colleges will also get an approximately one percent funding increase.
Overall, the state budget is up by $760 million from last year because of pay raises, inflation and spending increases. But the budget also includes $430 million in cuts and savings.