Zorn supports balanced 2020 budget plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn this week supported Senate passage of a fiscal year 2020 budget plan that increases funding for roads and schools to record levels while living within the state’s means.

“The Senate’s budget lays out a blueprint on how to make smart investments in top priorities facing Michigan families with existing revenues,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This is a balanced budget that supports our students, fixes our roads, protects our communities and helps attract new investment and jobs.

“Under this budget plan, school funding for next year would increase by almost $400 million, and most schools in Monroe and Lenawee counties would get their largest per-pupil foundation allowance increase in 18 years.”

Senate Bill 146 would invest $15.2 billion in education, representing a more than $2.6 billion increase in state funding for schools since FY 2011.

Under the bill, Michigan schools would see a foundation allowance boost of between $135 and $270 per pupil — which is $107 million more of a foundation allowance increase than the governor’s plan.

The Senate-passed budget includes an additional $51.2 million for constitutional revenue sharing for local governments, graduates 85 new state police troopers, invests $120 million for drinking water protections and fully implements $1.2 billion from the 2015 roads plan a year ahead of schedule — investing an additional $132 million entirely to local roads.

“We have long heard that the Michigan people want more funding put into improving the roads and this budget prioritizes existing tax dollars to do that,” Zorn said. “While talks continue on a long-term road funding solution, we need to work toward enacting a responsible state budget on time that provides the essential services people use every day.”

The Senate budget would also restore the governor’s planned funding cuts to programs that improve access to OB-GYN services in rural areas, strengthen rural hospitals, boost the number of medical residents in underserved areas, and support skilled trades training.

SBs 133-149 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.