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Michigan Lawmakers Receive $315 Million Windfall For Budget

State capitol in downtown Lansing.

Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers have an extra 315 (m) million dollars to work with as they finalize the new budget.

The windfall is the result of tax revenue created by an economic recovery that’s continued now for almost nine years.

John Walsh is Governor Snyder’s budget director. He says details need to be worked out, but there appears to be broad agreement on where most of the money should go.

“Roads are a big priority for the Legislature and the governor, as it is for citizens," said Walsh. "School safety, we’re looking at some initiatives there.”

Also, paying down long-term debt, and putting more into the state’s “rainy day” savings to be ready for when the economy slows down.

State Senator David Hildenbrand chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says Republicans will look into paying down debt, and putting money into the state’s “rainy day” savings.

“And then investing in a few key priorities," said Sen. Hildenbrand. "A couple that come to mind right away are roads and infrastructure, put more money into those efforts. And then school safety.”

Sen. Hildenbrand says the surplus could help pay for grants to help make schools more secure.

Governor Rick Snyder and House and Senate budget leaders are supposed to sit down soon to finalize details of the new budget. They hope to have their work wrapped up in early June.

State Representative Laura Cox chairs the state House Appropriations Committee. She said details still need to be finalized.

“I’m really happy we have more money to play with," said Rep. Cox. "We can focus on some infrastructure dollars. We need some money for school safety. We also want to focus on debt reduction. So, I think when the heads all get together in the room, and we kind of iron things out, it’s going to be a pretty good plan.” 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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