Sen. Dale Zorn comments finalized state budget

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized a Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan that increases support for education and roads and strengthens the state’s finances, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“We have achieved much to improve our state and energize our economy, and this budget continues that positive momentum while ensuring we live within our means.

“I supported this budget because it makes smart investments in top priorities facing Michigan families and businesses. Most importantly, it increases funding for our local schools and invests an additional $400 million — from existing revenues — into fixing Michigan’s roads.

“With this budget, we are building on our commitment to our schools — increasing support to schools by more than $200 million and paying down more than $1 billion in school retirement costs, which will help schools put additional dollars into the classroom.

“As Michigan’s economy grows and creates jobs, we are increasing support for career and technical education to more than $36 million. This is about investing in career training to help give students and workers the skills necessary to get a well-paying job.

“This fiscally responsible budget represents Michigan values. It reduces the cost of government while supporting vital services, investing in our children, improving government efficiency and continuing the ongoing effort to make Michigan more attractive to tourists and job creators.”

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Senate Bill 133 contains budgets for principal state departments and the Judicial and Legislative branches. It includes a $94 million deposit into the state’s rainy day fund, reduces the state’s film credit, invests $4 million more into the Pure Michigan campaign and puts more resources into local revenue sharing and public safety.

House Bill 4115 is the omnibus budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $15.8 billion. The bill includes an additional $209 million for schools and a $217 million increase in state contributions — for a total of $994 million — to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2016 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.