State Rep. Triston Cole on Tuesday joined his colleagues in passage of the state budget, which includes record level funding for K-12 education and proposes a 2.2 percent reduction for the general state budget.
Cole, of Mancelona, voted to approve the budget for the new fiscal year, a conservative blueprint that invests in the state’s future. He applauded reprioritizing funds for road projects, but said funding for smaller schools needs to be revisited.
“As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I appreciate the hard work and efforts of Rep. Shane Hernandez, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation,” Rep. Cole said. “He and I sat down and talked in the beginning of the term and I asked for more concrete and asphalt in the budget. I believe he has done everything in his ability to do just that.”
Cole said he is concerned that the school budget does not continue to provide additional money to smaller schools up north.
“As chairman of the Northern Caucus, previous budgets that put more funds in the rural classrooms is an issue I hear from all over Northern Michigan to close the gap between the amount of money spent per student in northern and downstate schools,” Cole said. “The additional funding had begun to bring equity in school funding and the Northern Caucus will continue to fight for the extra funds. I also support additional spending for at-risk students.”
Cole said another issue that should be corrected in the final blueprint is including more locally produced food in school lunch menus.
Highlights of the budget include:
- Allocating the highest funding in state history for K-12 schools with a proposed $14.3 billion; improving access skilled trades training through career and technical education.
- Making life better in communities across Michigan by adding money for road repairs, public safety departments, parks and other programs to improve our daily lives.
- Increasing funding for public safety by adding 100 more Michigan State Police troopers.
- Making health care more effective and efficient, with an enhanced focus on improving mental health care.
- Paying down retiree debt and adding to state government’s main savings account for tough times, pushing that emergency fund above $1 billion.
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.