Legislature sends FY 2020 budget to governor

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Tuesday voted to send the governor a balanced fiscal year 2020 budget that increases investments in key priorities while living within the state’s means.

“The budget passed today includes record funding for road repairs, protects our natural resources and promotes good government,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Added to the K-12 budget we recently approved, we are funding our needs in a responsible fashion.”

Last week, the Legislature finalized the school budget. House Bill 4242 would invest more than $15.2 billion in K-12 education, a boost of over $2.2 billion in school funding since FY 2011.

Under that bill, schools would also see a foundation allowance boost of between $120 and $240 per pupil — nearly $70 million more than the governor’s plan — in addition to $522 million invested to help at-risk students, a $21.5 million increase in career and technical education funding, and a $60 million increase for special education.

Senate Bill 149, the transportation budget, would invest $5.4 billion in transportation in FY 2020, a 60% increase from the FY 2010 budget. The budget adds $400 million for local road and bridge constructions but rejects the governor’s 45-cent gas tax increase to fund it.

Bizon said he was pleased with some local projects receiving funding.

“Today’s budget funds the long-overdue demolition of the Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia County,” Bizon said. “The 47-acre facility, built in the 1980s, was closed in 2009 and has been vacant since then, falling into disrepair over the past 10 years.

“In addition, Sparrow Ionia Hospital and Spectrum Health Pennock are critical access hospitals that will benefit from rural critical access hospital funding in the budget.”

The budget bills given final legislative approval on Tuesday would invest $120 million in drinking water protections, increase funding to local governments, assist efforts to respond to public health hazards, and fund additional programs that support rural hospitals and help improve access to OB-GYN services in rural areas.

The 2020 budget plan also includes funding to train new state police troopers and corrections officers, language requiring state departments to work together to ensure veterans receive their benefits, and measures to assist farmers and Michigan’s agriculture industry.

The budget bills now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for final consideration.