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State education and school aid budget, and revenue sources for schools

House Dems propose smaller K12 increase, bigger equity payment, for FY08

Departing from the Governor's proposals, House Democrats have moved a bill that would increase foundation allowances by only $100 for next year, but give most districts an additional $100 equity payment. Governor's proposal trimmed The amended version of HB4359, the School Aid appropriations bill for fiscal 2008, passed the School Aid and Education Appropriations subcommittee on a party line vote. The bill increases overall spending on school aid by $295 million compared to this year, but comes in $42 million short of the Governor's original recommendation.

Speak out now to stop late cuts this year!

We sent this letter to Chmn. Cushingberry, other members of the House Appropriations Committee, Reps. Ebli (Monroe) and Warren (Ann Arbor), and Sens. Brater and Richardville, on April 5th. A copy of the final letter in PDF form is attached to this posting. Dear friends, As you may know, last week the Senate passed a bill, along party lines, that would cut $34 per pupil from school districts' allowances for this year. This and other cuts were part of an attempt by the Senate's Republican majority to close the School Aid Fund deficit of $377 million without any new revenues. While the $34 cut seems small, it is coming so late in the schools' fiscal years that it has the potential to be very destructive -- especially to districts which have little or no reserve.

Schools and the "T" word

Taxes. There, now I’ve said it. It’s a word no one wants to hear, especially now that Michigan’s economy seems to be sliding downhill. (And never in April.)

But wishing won’t make it go away. So here is the question:

Do we really have to pay more taxes to get decent schools? Don’t we pay enough already?

Well, it depends. What do you want your kids’ schools to look like ten years from now? What would you like our state’s economy to look like thirty years from now? That’s really the bottom line. To quote a colleague of mine, “You get what you pay for.”

What's next? Budget struggle moves to the House

In a deft reversal of spin, Republican lawmakers and allied "opinion leaders" are pushing the notion that Senate Republicans have taken leadership on the budget question, including school aid, by passing their two appropriations bills last week. It's the Democrats and the Governor, they argue, who should be called on the carpet for not presenting their plans.

How much was that deficit again?

25 March -- Numbers, numbers, everywhere. Lots of numbers have been tossed around -- $377 million deficit in the School Aid Fund, $220 per pupil reduction, and more -- but when you look at the details these numbers don't always seem to add up. Thanks to non-partisan staffers in Lansing (at the Senate and House Fiscal Agencies), information is available on the web that helps clear up some of the confusion, even if the underlying problems remain unchanged.

The Deficit

Budget negotiaions collapse; Senate rams through alternative

22 March -- Negotiations among Democratic and Republican legislative leaders and the Governor broke down this afternoon after the two sides were unable to find common ground about new revenue or addressing both fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2008 at the same time. Shortly afterward, Gov. Granholm issued a new Executive Order that specified $344 million in cuts and savings from the General Fund portion of the budget. Republican lawmakers in the Senate made good on their promise to plug the budget hole without raising taxes.

Budget talks continue behind closed doors; income tax looked at

21 March -- The top-level negotiations among the Granholm administration and Democratic and Republican legislative leaders continued today, but news was thin on the ground. Press reports indicate that the largest sticking point so far was the Republican caucus' insistence that no revenue measures be considered for balancing the FY07 budget, and keeping the problem of the current fiscal year separate from plans for next year (fiscal 2008).

Budget talks begin in earnest

20 March -- Leaders from both houses of the Legislature finally sat down to negotiate with the Governor over their competing plans for closing the current state budget deficit. House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), along with other key lawmakers, met with Gov. Jennifer Granholm in private for several hours today. When they emerged from the meeting, they agreed that the talks had been "productive," but all of them declined to provide any specifics.

More posturing than substance on budget

19 March -- The posturing is well under way before the three-way budget negotiations begin.

Town Hall meeting on the state budget

[From AAParentsforSchools.org] Washtenaw County legislators met with local citizens, city leaders and school officials tonight to explain the current state budget crisis and seek public support for their solutions. Speaking to a very interested audience, the four Democratic lawmakers underlined their commitment to finding new sources of revenue for the state budget and school aid fund rather than relying on further cuts to balance the budget.

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