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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Whitmer Proposes $61.9B Budget With Boost In School Funding

Governor Gretchen Whitmer reportedly flew to Deleware to meet with former Vice President Joe Biden as he nears his touted vice presidential decision.
Cheyna Roth

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday proposed a $61.9 billion state budget, including what she said would be the biggest increase for Michigan classroom operations in 20 years.

The plan would boost overall spending by 3.9%.

Whitmer, a Democrat, proposed increasing base per-student funding by $225, or 2.8%, for most schools. She also proposed $60 million increases for special education and academically at-risk and economically disadvantaged students, and $250 payments to teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.

Whitmer again sought funding from the Republican-led Legislature for her proposed Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college or technical training to nontraditional students age 25 and older who don’t have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It is backed by the business lobby but was not enacted last year.

Unlike in 2019, Whitmer did not make a fuel tax increase the linchpin of her budget proposal — having recently announced that the state will borrow money to start fixing state-owned roads and bridges.

“This is a thoughtful budget that focuses on increased funding for education and skill development, providing for the health and needs of working families, and protecting Michigan’s water,” she said in a statement.

Whitmer proposed $37.5 in new spending to reduce infant mortality rates and provide expanded health care to pregnant Medicaid recipients and those with infants.

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