Booher: Governor sent balanced budget prioritizing education, public safety

LANSING—The Fiscal Year 2015 budget was finalized by the Legislature on Thursday and is on its way to the governor to be signed, said Sen. Darwin Booher.

“A balanced budget is on its way to the governor’s desk that makes important investments in key priorities like public safety and education while ensuring the state continues to live within its means,” said Booher, R-Evart. “With this budget, we will have increased state support of K-12 education by $1.3 billion since I was elected in 2010, while the federal government has cut funding to our schools by $370 million.”

House Bill 5314 is an education omnibus budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges.

“This budget enhances our support of all levels of education by more than $660 million,” Booher said. “Funding for K-12 education is roughly $550 million more than last year. Importantly, to reduce the gap between school districts, lower funded schools will see a $175 per pupil increase in the foundation allowance – more than three times larger than the highest funded districts.

“Our universities and community colleges are preparing people for successful careers, and I am pleased that they will see increases of $86 million and $29 million respectively.”

House Bill 5313 is an omnibus budget for all the state’s principal departments and the Judicial and Legislative branches.

“This budget focuses on the critical roles that our infrastructure and local governments play in our economy and lives,” Booher said. “We are putting more resources into keeping our communities safe and investing an additional $285 million into improving our roads. Budgets are about priorities, and these budgets are about educating our children, protecting our families and continuing our economic recovery.”

HB 5313 funds 100 new state troopers, adds $94 million to the state’s rainy day fund, provides additional funding to eliminate the meals-on-wheels waiting list, increases funding for obstetric payments to rural hospitals and physicians, and increases assistance to local governments by $89 million through revenue sharing and incentives.

Booher said the increase to local governments in the 35th District also features $800,000 of new money as a result of the senator’s payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) reform bills.

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