Governor’s Proposed 2017 Budget Focused on Putting People First
In mid-February, Governor Rick Snyder presented his proposed 2017 fiscal year budget plan. This budget focuses on Michigan’s growth and success, now and into the future. Critical investments for the Flint Water Crisis, the Detroit Public School system and statewide infrastructure are Governor Snyder’s main priority. The governor also addressed the issue of the increasing costs of specialty medications that Michigan residents have become dependent on for better health outcomes. The overall recommendation totals $54.9 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent or $438 million over last year, and includes $10 billion in general fund dollars. The general fund is up 1.5 percent or $145 million from last year.
“As with every budget recommendation, the governor carefully considers many investment needs to develop a balanced plan,” said John S. Roberts, state budget director.
“The governor’s plan makes heavy investments in both Flint and DPS, but even with these big challenges, the values and priorities of our state have not changed and our key priorities such as economic growth, education, public safety and fiscal responsibility can be seen throughout this budget recommendation. This plan provides a balanced approach to addressing our immediate challenges while continuing to pay off debt and make needed investments in critical areas,” he added.
Governor Snyder plans to invest over $195 million in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 to address the Flint Water Crisis. The funds will be spread out across multiple state agencies in order to support the residents of the Flint community. These funds will contribute to persistent issues that include safe drinking water, food and nutrition, physical health, social well-being and educational intervention. Governor Snyder also plans to set aside $30 million of supplemental funding for the 2016 fiscal year to help pay for water bills from 2014-2016, stating that “residents shouldn’t have to pay for water they didn’t drink or have other uses for.” Total funding for Flint comes to more than $230 million.
The Detroit Public Schools and the creation of a new district are another focus. According to Governor Snyder, the children of Detroit deserve higher quality education, but that education is overlooked because of financial demands from previous debt. The governor’s plan to help with the district’s turnaround includes maintaining the current district to pay off the debt, establishing a new district to operate the schools and a new commission that would hire an education manager to oversee all traditional and charter public schools in the city and manage universal services for all buildings. With Governor Snyder’s 2017 budget, the Detroit Public Schools would use the existing local millage – about $72 million per year – to pay off the debt.
“The $720 million over 10 years that the governor called for in his budget recommendation will help get the school district back on firmer financial footing,” said Roberts. “It will also help ensure Detroit children are receiving a quality education, setting them on a path toward a brighter future.”
Michigan schools as a whole will be receiving increased funding across the state at the K-12 and university level.
Governor Snyder said he remains committed to putting the people of the state first. As he has done in the past, Snyder also offered his 2018 budget plans.
“By offering a 2018 projected budget, the governor is ensuring that Michigan maintains a long-range planning focus with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility,” stated Roberts.
The State Budget Office and Governor Snyder are committed to working with the Legislature to ensure the success and well-being of residents across the state of Michigan. The 2017 budget is set to be signed in early June. The state’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2016.