Politics
5:26 pm
Tue May 17, 2011

Part of projected budget windfall expected to go to schools

Part of a projected budget windfall is expected to go toward reducing proposed cuts to Michigan’s K-through-12 schools.

The question floating around the state Capitol is how much of a projected boon in tax revenue collection will go toward reducing cuts to per-student funding, and how much will go toward paying for pensions or into the state’s “rainy day” fund.

"I wouldn’t support putting all of the money in the rainy day fund, but reestablishing a budget stabilization fund makes sense,” said Republican state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. "Just like in a household when you’re paying off some of your credit card debt, we’re doing some of those things, and at the same time we’re starting a savings account, so we’re getting back to being a fiscally prudent state."

Richardville would like to reduce proposed cuts to schools to $100 per pupil.

That’s a third of the original proposed cut.

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger says GOP leaders also want to be careful not to spend money that won’t be available year after year.

"It would be tempting for some people to try to use this money to try to prop up these ongoing expenses," said Bolger. "That would be irresponsible because next year, we would be back into the deficit situation, and that’s what we’re seeking to avoid. We want to be realistic about this budget, then hit that ‘reset’ button and move this state forward."

Bolger says it’s also important to put money into the state’s emergency savings and to pay down long-term debt and fund pensions.

Governor Rick Snyder and other Republican leaders say most of the budget windfall is one-time money that should not support on-going spending, but instead pay down debts and go into an emergency savings account.