The state officially has a spending plan for 2018. Governor Rick Snyder signed a signed a $56.5 billion budget Friday.
Typically the governor wants the budget signed by July 1st of every year, but things got a little bumpy this time. The governor was even kicked out of negotiations for a little while. But State Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) said eventually differences got settled.
“Glad to see this one got done because it was a little bit more of a challenge than in the past. But we got it done,” he said.
The biggest difference was making changes to the teacher retirement system. Governor Snyder said working through difference is all part of the process. Education, from kindergarten through college is a big investment for the state. This includes money for professional trade programs. Brian Whiston is the state Superintendent. He said this budget will help reach the state’s goal of being a top ten state for education.
“You know this notion that every kid has to go to college or every kid has to do this, we gotta get rid of,” he said. “Let’s create multiple pathways. Let’s ask kids what’s their passion. What problem do they want to solve. And then let’s create pathways for them to do that.”
The focus on education is also seen in the millions of extra dollars for at-risk youth.
“We want to invest in all our kids,” said Governor Snyder. “But sometimes because of their environment and other issues it’s important to have extra resources in those schools so they can help provide those support services.”
The budget also includes $35 million for an infrastructure fund. The Michigan State Police will get 150 new troopers. Millions of dollars will help build out 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails. The budget goes into effect in October.