Gov. Rick Snyder today signed House Bills 4228 and 4328 into law, finishing the budget process for the fiscal year set to begin Oct. 1, 2013.
For the third year in a row, the state has passed its budget plan four months ahead of the constitutional deadline. The new schedule allows schools and local governments to use definite figures when putting together their own budgets for the coming year.
"We should be proud of the financial stability that is now firmly established within the state budget," Snyder said. "Through strong partnership with the Legislature, we have put the state's fiscal house in order and we have given our residents, communities and businesses the assurance that Michigan is indeed the comeback state and we're building upon the strong foundation we have laid and investing in priorities smartly and strategically."
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget include:
- A 0.8% increase in total spending, well below the rate of inflation.
- $449.7 million more in funding for K-12 education.
- $65 million more for early childhood education.
- $31.9 million more in funding for higher education and community colleges.
- $13.2 million more in funding for veterans' programs.
- $20 million set aside for individual tax relief.
- $25.3 million more in funding for public safety initiatives.
- $46.6 million more for revenue sharing to communities, including an increase to Constitutional revenue sharing.
- $75 million deposited into the state' rainy day fund or what's known officially as the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF).
- $351 million more for Michigan's roads from existing revenue sources.
- $11.6 million more for the Healthy Kids Dental.
"For the past three years, Michigan has been moving in the right direction. There's still much more work to be done, but we are making positive gains," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. "We're investing in our communities, our schools, and our infrastructure. This budget builds upon the work we have done to reform government and ensure that the money each individual sends to Lansing is spent wisely."
The House and Senate approved the budget bills last week, after months of discussions that led to targeted increases in funding for schools, public safety initiatives, Michigan's crumbling roads and other key priorities, while still keeping the overall increase in spending below the rate of inflation.
"Every dollar state government has to spend comes from the pocket of one of Michigan's hard-working taxpayers," said House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall. "That is why it was important for us to make strong commitments to our top priorities, while respecting the taxpayers and their need to make ends meet. We were able to do both during this process, because of our conservative focus on smarter, more targeted budgeting that puts taxpayers first instead of government."
"The tough choices we made to balance the budget two years ago are paying dividends now," added State Budget Director John Nixon. "With growing revenues and a budget in structural balance for the long term, Michigan is in a strong financial position where we are now able to make strategic investments in our future rather than manage from a position of fiscal crisis."
The leaders pledged to continue addressing the issues of Medicaid via the proposed Healthy Michigan plan and a long-term solution for adequately funding Michigan's roads.