Budgets Pass Each Chamber, Await Final Revenue Projections

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, May 10, 2017

Last week, both the House and Senate passed their respective budgets. The Senate passed its School Aid budget, Senate Bill 149, by a vote of 23-15 and the House passed its education omnibus budget (including School Aid, community colleges and universities), House Bill 4313, by a vote of 60-47. There were no substantive changes made to the versions we've been reporting on for the past few weeks.

The budgets now switch chambers and the next step is the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on May 17. This will set the final revenue projections for the year and the target numbers on which to base the budget. Conference committee members and the final negotiations will begin after that. Gov. Rick Snyder would still like to see the budget done by the end of the month.

Numerous amendments were offered on the education omnibus in the House, including an attempt to reduce cyberschool funding after the first year to the Governor's recommendation, and an attempt by Rep. Dave Pagel (R-Berrien Springs) to keep SAF money for K-12 education only. The amendments failed. Rep. Pagel specifically highlighted how this budget uses $497 million of the School Aid Fund for other purposes this year and almost $3 billion since 2009, which goes against the intent of the voters in Proposal A. Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township) indicated a willingness to have this discussion at the start of the next budget process.

While the budgets remain largely unchanged from our previous reports, the legislative proposals spend far less than the Governor's recommendations. The Senate version of the full state budget is $275.9 million less than the Governor's proposal and the House version is $252 million less. These moves by the House and Senate are fueling the rumors that the Legislature will try to close the MPSERS system before they break for the summer. We still have not seen legislation introduced on MPSERS reform but continue to expect to see it soon.

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