Gov. Rick Snyder: Budget Reflects Focus on Making Michigan Better, Safer, Stronger

Press Release

Michigan's fiscal 2015 budget package continues the state's comeback, with significant, strategic investments to better serve the state's nearly 10 million residents while building on a solid foundation for a brighter future.

"This budget strikes the right balance by making critical investments to fuel Michigan's comeback while maintaining fiscal responsibility," Snyder said. "Working with our partners in the Legislature, we continue to emphasize job growth, education, transportation, stronger communities, increased public and mental health and safety, and environmental and natural resources protection. These are protections and improvements that affect every member of our state."

Combined with the School Omnibus Bill signed on June 24, the bills provide an investment plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. A total budget of $53.2 billion includes state and federal revenue sources, with more than 75 percent devoted to education and health and human services. The General Fund budget totals $10.1 billion, and the School Aid budget totals $12.3 billion.

The combined bills include investments in education at all levels, including $11.8 million in state funding for K-12 districts, a $1.1 billion funding increase from fiscal year 2011.

The bill signing marks the fourth straight year the state has completed the budget in June, giving school districts, local governments and other recipients of state funding the information they need to plan their budgets.

"This budget is again committed to paying our bills, investing wisely and saving for the future," State Budget Director John Roberts said. "It reflects the core budget principles that Gov. Snyder has emphasized since day one and remains committed to those principles in this budget."

The new era of early budget adoptions and fiscal responsibility is accompanied by a growing GDP, an unemployment rate down from over 11 percent in 2010 to 7.5 percent and more than a quarter-million new private and private sector jobs.

"We've created an environment for businesses to grow and thrive not just today, but long into the future, creating more and better jobs for Michiganders," Snyder said. "We're building on our strengths while preparing for Michigan's exciting days ahead."

Snyder said he appreciates the spirit of cooperation in which the budget was created. But he urges lawmakers to continue working on a plan to generate revenue for a comprehensive solution to the state's infrastructure needs, saying roads are a critical issue affecting all residents and visitors to our state and are essential to helping accelerate our continued economic growth.

Some specific highlights of the 2015 budget include:

Creating more and better jobsThe agriculture industry plays a vital and important role in the Michigan economy. A total of $2 million in new funding for the Food and Agriculture Industry Growth Initiative is focused on removing barriers and leveraging opportunities identified by food processors, agri-businesses, and those in agricultural production critical to business development and growth.

The budget includes $50 million in bond funds to allow community colleges to compete for funds to retool equipment for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand occupations.

For the second year, there is also $10 million for the community college skilled trades training program to encourage more residents to master a skilled trade, which helps to address job-to-talent mismatches.

The Pure Michigan campaign continues to be successful, attracting tourists from across the globe and helping to improve the economy. And it's a smart investment with a high return on the dollar. Total funding this year will be $29 million.

The budget also includes $130 million in funding for community revitalization and business attraction efforts as well as $50 million in funding to support Michigan's film industry.

Educating our childrenThe combined bills include investment in education at all levels, including $11.8 million in state funding for K-12 districts, a $1.1 billion funding increase from fiscal year 2011. The budget includes $177 million for a per-student funding increase, which equates to a range of $50 to $175 per student, narrowing the foundation allowance gap and setting a new minimum grant of $7,251 per student.

Higher education investment increased as well. State aid for community colleges will climb by 3 percent, through an additional $8.9 million. Funding for state universities has increased by 5.9 percent, or nearly $78 million. Universities will be required to limit tuition increases to 3.2 percent or less in order to receive their funding increase.

Michigan continues to increase funding for early childhood education as well. An additional $65 million builds on the current year increase of $65 million, eliminating the waiting list and establishing a strong foundation for effective learning that will last throughout a child's life.

Making Michigan saferThe state plans to continue the effective efforts to add and improve public safety by including $46.6 million to train 100 state police troopers, 31 motor carrier officers, 25 conservation officers, and update the state's public safety communications system.

Also included is $6.8 million for the enhancement of the state's cybersecurity efforts to improve the ability of cyber professionals to respond to cyber attacks.

Investing in roads and other infrastructureThe budget includes an additional $285 million in funding for Michigan roads, representing a significant short-term investment while work continues on a long-term solution to provide a stable funding source to maintain our infrastructure.

Supporting Detroit, other cities and municipalitiesAll of Michigan will benefit from Detroit's reinvention. A total of $194.8 million in funding to support the Detroit bankruptcy and provide added resources for the recovery of Michigan's largest city. The funding will be paid back to the state's rainy day fund in the amount of $17.5 million annually over the next 20 years from tobacco settlement funds.

The budget also includes an additional $92.5 million in support of cities, villages, townships, and counties for revenue sharing payments and local government grants.

Serving veterans, older residentsThe budget includes support for our veterans, including an additional $4.7 million in funding for a new tuition assistance program for eligible Air and Army National Guard personnel.

Our state's seniors will benefit from an additional investment of $5 million to expand the distribution of home-delivered meals for seniors and to expand other in-home services. Another $9 million is provided for the MI Choice Waiver program, eliminating waiting lists and making Michigan the "no wait" state.

We cannot tolerate any abuse of our seniors. A total of $1 million will go to expand efforts to detect and address physical and financial abuse.

Helping Michiganders stay healthyThe governor is a strong proponent of improving the health of Michigan residents. A healthier Michigan is good for individual and family quality of life, good for the economy and good for all taxpayers.

The plan includes increased spending offset by Healthy Michigan Initiative savings of $243.4 million to provide Medicaid health coverage for over 400,000 people; more than 300,000 have already enrolled in Healthy Michigan.

Also, another $15.7 million is included to expand Healthy Kids Dental into Kalamazoo and Macomb counties, providing an additional 100,000 children with good dental care.

Good prenatal care is essential. The 2015 budget proposal includes $2.3 million to expand rural prenatal health visitations by the Department of Community Health to the Upper Peninsula and northern lower Michigan, helping ensure that families in need receive prenatal services that foster healthy outcomes for children.

The state plans to provide $7 million for university autism programs focused on supporting programs at Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Oakland University, Central Michigan University, and Michigan State University. These funds will be used to increase the number of trained service providers and available autism services.

Also included is continued support for mental health with funding of $14.3 million to begin to implement the findings of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission and help develop an integrated system of coordinated mental health services.

A new investment of $3.4 million has been allocated for jail diversion to support and help those with mental illness or development disabilities so they can be diverted from the criminal justice system to receive the medical attention they need.

Protecting and enhancing our natural resourcesA new investment of $5 million to help prevent the invasion of species that could do harm to Michigan's natural resources and quality of life.

Also, $4 million is included to support the Water Quality and Use Initiative, which focuses on developing a comprehensive water strategy to address the increased demand for water quality. The funding is in three separate lines -- $500,000 for beach monitoring, $1 million for wetlands and the rest for Water Quality and Use Initiative/general. The final budget also includes $2.5 million for the Drinking Water Revolving Fund.

The budget includes an additional $1 million for a statewide recycling initiative to increase the number of counties providing convenient access to recycling.

Michigan's forests will be better protected with $3.9 million in new funding for wildfire protection and forest management through the hiring of 10 new foresters.

To enhance Michigan's reputation as the "Trail State" this budget includes a total of $2.5 million in new funding is provided for the development of a trail system from Belle Isle to the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula.

The budget includes $3.7 million in funding for the repair and maintenance of state parks. Additionally, there is an informal agreement to earmark $2.5 million of the funding for Belle Isle.

VetoesSnyder said he vetoed two appropriations in the budget, saying a pedestrian crossing study was an unnecessary expenditure as a transportation revenue package is still pending. He also vetoed an appropriation for a high-speed rail crossing pilot program, saying current traffic control measures are consistent with federal standards.