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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Budget translated: Don't get excited

In line with expectations, the governor's formal budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (which begins Oct. 1) and budget outline for fiscal 2014 is a quiet document. "Quiet" in that it shouldn't engender shouts of excitement or opposition from the various special interests that bid for state funding.

Gov. Rick Snyder is pushing money into K-12 education -- perhaps responding to a point of concern voiced often during community conversations hosted by the Center for Michigan in recent months.

He's also dangling dollars in front of community colleges -- if they meet certain performance goals on graduating students in proper fields.

The governor shows no desire to take on major corrections reform by saving dollars. He's headed in the opposite direction, recommending 1 percent increase in general fund spending for corrections in FY13 and a 2.2 percent increase for FY14. If Snyder's plan were followed, Michigan would be spending more than $2 billion from its general fund in FY14 for corrections.

Some smaller, but interesting, details from the governor's budget presentation. To see the entire document, click here.

* "(R)ecommended budget provides $195 million in funding for economic development to assist Michigan businesses, with a continued focus on an economic gardening strategy to help local businesses grow."

That looks suspiciously like a new variety of the "pick winners and losers in the marketplace" idea.

* "The Governor recommends an additional $15 million in general fund to support economic development in Michigan’s distressed cities."

* "(A) competitive grant assistance program is funded in fiscal year 2013 with $25 million in sales tax revenue, using $5 million in ongoing funding plus a one-time augmentation of $20 million. Cities, villages, townships, or counties that elect to combine government operations may apply for reimbursement of costs for approved projects. Fiscal year 2013 funding represents a four-fold increase from fiscal year 2012 funding of $5 million. The proposed one-time increase addresses significant interest expressed by local units seeking help with transition costs associated with mergers, inter-local agreements, and other cooperative efforts."

* The Michigan State Police is a big winner, with a proposed 16 percent increase in budget support. Senior Writer Ron French details part of that increase -- involving the problems in forensics lab staffing recently explained in Bridge.

* The Executive Office of the governor is marked for a 5 percent boost for FY13 -- though the overall numbers are small: $4.6 million up to $4.83 million.

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