The Michigan Senate approved a budget on Wednesday for the state's next fiscal year.
The 49.5-billion dollar spending plan includes increases for local government revenue sharing and some additional money for transportation, but leaves some questions unanswered (Mlive story).
State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker tells WMUK's Gordon Evans that the budget makes education a priority. The spending plan includes increases for higher education, k-12 schools and the Great Start Readiness program for pre-school. Critics say this year's increases don't make up for previous cuts.
Governor Snyder has called for an additional $1.2-billion for road and bridge repairs. The budget does not include any long-term funding for infrastructure. There is another $350-million, but most of that is one-time surplus money. Schuitmaker says there is not support for an increase in the gas tax or vehicle registration fees proposed by the governor. She says a one-cent sales tax increase could be put on the ballot as a way to fund road improvements.
The budget does not include money for Medicaid expansion. Governor Snyder favors extending coverage for more low-income people as called for under the federal Affordable Care Act. Schuitmaker says some lawmakers want requirements that people take responsibility for their own health as part of Medicaid expansion. She says further hearings are expected on the Medicaid issue this summer.