LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a nearly $62 billion state budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

According to the Associated Press, Whitmer proposed $61.9 billion for the state's budget, including what she said is the biggest increase for class operations in 20 years. 

Her plans for the 2021 fiscal year budget were unveiled at a roundtable event in Lansing Thursday morning. Whitmer was joined with State Budget Director Chris Kolb.

The Associated Press says the plan would boost overall spending by 3.9%. 

Whitmer proposed increase base per-student funding by $225, or 2.8%, for more schools. She also proposed a $60 million boost for special education and $60 million increase for academically at-risk or economically disadvantaged students. 

Whitmer is also seeking funding for her proposed Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college or technical training for nontraditional students age 25 and older without an associate's or bachelor's degree.  

Last week, Whitmer delivered her second State of the State address. In it, she said Michigan will borrow $3.5 billion to rebuild state highways and bridges over five years. She called the plan a responsible way to start fixing deteriorating roads after Republicans rejected her proposed fuel tax hike. 

Last year, the budget process fueled deep disagreements on how to fund road repairs in the state. Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature reached a budget compromise late last year, after a months-long stalemate. But not before more than half of the state funding that was vetoed by the Whitmer was restored. 

PREVIOUS: Michigan Legislature OKs restoring over half of vetoed funds

In December, lawmakers passed a bill that would require legislature to present a budget plan to the governor by July 1. It was sponsored by Rep. Greg Vanwoerkom, R-Norton Shores, who said in a statement to the Grand Haven Tribune that an earlier budget deadline provides more certainty for schools, local governments and other programs that rely on funding from the state to operate. 

The new law also serves as a response to Whitmer's criticisms last year, when Legislature broke for summer recess without finishing the budget process.

Michigan's next fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2020. If budget bills aren't signed by the end of the day on Sept. 30, the state will go into a government shutdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.


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