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State House approves $39.5 billion general budget

The Michigan House of Representatives approved a spending bill last night that would provide $39.5 billion in general spending.  The bill passed 60-47, mostly along party lines.

The Republican majority says the plan would fund priorities such as roads and public safety and give local governments more in revenue sharing than under Snyder's plan. It would also add $265 million to savings, as requested by the Republican governor.

Democrats say the House plan too often goes halfway and does not fully fund increases sought by Snyder in areas such as environmental protection and meals for seniors. 

Democrats also tried to pass a number of amendments, which included increased spending on women's health care and sexual assault prevention programs, setting $265 million aside for a rainy day fund for roads, and the elimination of the $34 million Pure Michigan campaign. None of those amendments passed.

Legislators also approved $16.3 billion in school spending, which covers K-12 education, the state Department of Education, higher education and community colleges.

The plan includes continued spending on cyber schools, $2.75 million for private schools, and increases per pupil allowances from $50 to $100 per student. 

In the House bill, the minimum foundation grant would rise to $7,611, or 1.3%. The basic level would jump to $8,329, or 1.2%. The Republican governor instead has proposed a $100 per student boost for the lower-funded schools and a $50 per student increase for the higher-funded ones - sticking with a formula to reduce the gap in funding across districts.

The Republican-led Senate plans to approve its spending plan this week. Both bills then move to a conference committee to work out a compromise.

A final budget is not expected to be resolved until early June.