Legislator votes to advance budget plan to governor
State Rep. Larry Inman applauded final legislative approval this week of a new state budget that will save taxpayers money while improving the future of Michigan’s economy and education system.
More than a quarter of the overall budget proposal will go to K-12 schools, with $14.8 billion establishing a new record for investment. The total will include the largest annual per-student increase in 15 years, with Traverse City Area Public Schools receiving $240 per student.
“These record resources will help struggling schools around the state get better and allow exemplary schools to flourish even more,” said Inman, of Williamsburg. “It’s important that we give the next generation the tools they need to succeed and an early start through education is critical. I’m pleased to have fought for this additional funding for our schools and kids in Grand Traverse County.”
Northwestern Michigan College is one of 28 community colleges in the state set to receive an approved $408 million combined under proposals heading to the governor for review. Built into the budget plan are provisions for more cooperation between the state’s two-year institutions relating to cost and transferable credits, as well as greater transparency, reporting and resources for safety.
The allotment share for NMC comes on the heels of past budget funding for a new learning and simulation center on the main campus. The project has recently begun development, with a planned renovation to the college’s West Hall and a 35,000-square-foot expansion.
“Two-year colleges are a versatile gateway to an education and a career. They can lead to skilled trade opportunities or a four-year degree,” said Inman. “We need to continue to promote these institutions as not only an option, but a vital educational asset.”
Other features of the budget highlighted by Inman include:
• An accelerated timeline for desperately needed infrastructure improvements, with $4 billion overall going to road repairs next budget year. Projects must be done on time and on budget, with strengthened warranties to ensure quality. The total is a record-high investment and up $1 billion compared to recent years.
• Funding levels for Pure Michigan will increase by $1 million to $36 million overall.
• Funding which creates 155 new Michigan state trooper positions, the highest trooper level in the past 18 years.
• Stabilization funding in the form of a combined $10 million for rural hospitals and OB/GYN facilities.
• Workforce development that will see Michigan students have more opportunities to train for high-demand jobs and higher wages through a $100 million program named the Marshall Plan for Talent. It’s part of the strategy to continue Michigan’s economic comeback, which has seen unemployment drop from 14.6 percent in June 2009 to 4.7 percent this spring.
• Roughly $60 million toward upgrading school safety across Michigan, including an expanded OK2SAY program which allows for confidential reporting.
House Bill 5579 and Senate Bill 848 advance to the governor for consideration.