Sen. Dale Zorn comments on finalized 2017 state budget

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized a Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan that increases support for education and public safety and strengthens the state’s finances, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“Since I joined the Legislature, we have achieved much to improve our state and — every year — we have passed a balanced and responsible budget well ahead of the deadline.

“We worked hard to finalize a budget that continues our positive momentum, ensures we live within our means and makes smart investments in top priorities facing Michigan families and businesses. Most importantly, it increases funding for our local schools and invests existing revenues into fixing Michigan’s roads.

“Once again, we are building on our commitment to all levels of education — including a more than $260 million increase for local schools and paying down more than $1 billion in school retirement costs to help put additional resources into the classroom.

“Michigan’s economy continues to grow and create jobs, and this budget will help students and workers get a well-paying job by increasing support for career and technical education and training in the skilled trades.

“This fiscally responsible budget meets our highest priorities. It supports vital services, invests in our children, improves government efficiency and continues our commitment to make Michigan more attractive to tourists and job creators.”

Senate Bill 801 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $16.1 billion. The bill includes increases for universities and community colleges, an additional $261 million for K-12 schools, $54.5 million for special education, $3.3 million for CTE equipment, and a total of $1 billion to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). It also increases MSU Extension program funding back to 2011 levels at $28.6 million.

House Bill 5294 contains budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches. It puts more resources into local revenue sharing; enables the Michigan State Police to add 65 troopers; and invests $2.5 million for Michigan Automated Prescription System upgrades, a vital tool for combatting the opioid abuse epidemic.

Under the bill, the County Fair Capital Improvement grants are restored, including $40,000 for the Monroe County Fair to repair streets and improve access for people with disabilities; and $60,000 for the Lenawee County Fair dairy barn.

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2017 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.