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New State Budget Get Mixed Reviews Along Party Lines

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – There will be no shutdown of the state government this year as lawmakers have put the finishing touches on this year’s budget, about three months ahead of the deadline.

The state’s $48 billion budget includes about $14.2 billion for education, another $1.5 billion for higher education, including two new trooper schools that will bring many cops into the city of Detroit.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says the party reactions are not surprising.

Senate Democrat Gretchen Whitmer gave the budget a rating of two-out-of-ten, saying it’s a “two” if you care about education, kids and economic development in Michigan. “It’s another massive disinvestment of education in Michigan,” she said.

Republican Randy Richardville gives the new budget a nine-plus.

Skubick says that the Republican are ‘geeked’ about the budget, the Democrats are not impressed.

Democrats decried the increases in education funding as “paltry,” saying the budget doesn’t do enough to make up for cuts last year.

“It continues a deeply damaging approach to funding Michigan’s educational system,” said Westland Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson. “Our higher education institutions endured some of the most severe budget cuts in history. This year … doesn’t even come close to making them whole again.”

Current university funding is down 15 percent from a year ago. Many institutions raised tuition nearly 7 percent to make up for the lost state support.

Under the new deal, universities would receive an overall 3 percent increase in funding. The education package would require universities to hold tuition and fee increases to no more than 4 percent or lose part of their state funding. The budget includes a $36 million increase for public universities, to $1.4 billion, as well as $200 million more for public schools, which will get $12.9 billion overall. Community colleges will get $10.3 million more, for a total of $294 million.

All three must meet performance requirements to qualify for much of the extra money. Some of the new funding will go to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System to cover pension and retiree health care costs.

Increases for individual universities would range from less than 1 percent at Wayne State University in Detroit to 8.2 percent for Saginaw Valley State University.

The budget now moves on to the Governor for his signature.

 

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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