Senate finalizes FY 2017 state budget

In 2011, Michigan produced a balanced budget months ahead of schedule. At the time, it was virtually unprecedented. Today, it is the norm.

On June 2, the Legislature finalized the state’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget well ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline — for the sixth year in a row. The budget plan — once again — builds upon the economic and financial foundation that the Michigan Senate Republicans established in 2011 — and have strengthened since then — to make Michigan the best place to live and work.

It is a responsible and balanced budget that makes further investments in priority areas, such as education, public safety and economic development. It also keeps government spending in line and does not burden hardworking families with new taxes.

We have included a more than $260 million increase for K-12 schools — amounting in a foundation allowance increase of $60- to $120-per-pupil — while also paying down more than $1 billion in school retirement costs to help put additional resources into the classroom. An additional $39 million has been directed to our state universities.

The budget will also expand the successful Healthy Kids Dental program to cover all Michigan residents under the age of 21, increase funding to further support private foster care agencies and dedicate funding to help homeless veterans.

To help keep our state and communities safe, we have provided funding to hire 65 new state police troopers and expand the Secure Cities program to cover six more communities.

More jobs and better jobs are always goals. As our economy continues to grow, the budget plan adds more than $5 million to the Skilled Trades Training Fund to help job providers train workers for in-demand career opportunities.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget is another fiscally responsible plan that helps meet our highest priorities. It supports vital services, invests in the next generation, makes state government more efficient, and continues our commitment to making Michigan more attractive to job creators and top talent.