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MIPFS Newsbriefs

"Work Product" - News from MIPFS

MASB discovers CapWiz!

As part of a new effort to beef up grassroots lobbying efforts, the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) rolled out a "new advocacy web site powered by CapWiz":http://capwiz.com/masb/home/, a grassroots advocacy system offered by Washington, DC-based "Capitol Advantage":http://capitoladvantage.com/.


Legislative wrap-up

*While the economic news was bad, school funding didn't take a huge hit in 2008.* Part of this was because of the increase in income tax rates for FY08 (really a restoration of the rates in effect a few years ago), and because of earmarking from the new Michigan Business Tax. *The other reason is that Michigan as a whole has been losing students*, and since state money is paid out on a per-pupil basis, that means the state's overall obligations are lower. That's small comfort for districts that lose both students and money, even if their foundation allowance crept up a bit.

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 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).

Few facts available about budget talks

14 March -- News reports from Lansing about the budget negotiations are bringing many hints but few hard facts. There are reports that House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) are nearing agreement on a package of budget cuts and accounting changes that would plug the gap in the current fiscal year budget, including school aid, without new taxes. Reportedly, the package funds school foundation allowances as originally budgeted but includes cuts in "categorical spending" programs for schools.

Negotiations begin

8 March -- Lawmakers representing both parties from the House and Senate did meet yesterday and today to try and hammer out a budget compromise. The talks were cloaked in secrecy, but apparently involved more than just the six lawmakers named earlier; the Governor's office was also represented, as was the Senate majority leader. The talks continue as the clock ticks on the school funding gap and the General Fund deficit.

Lawmakers nervous about tax plans

7 March -- The bipartisan joint working group on the state budget did not meet today as planned, and the reasons are unclear. The schedule change came amid talk in the capitol that House Democrats were looking for alternatives to the Governor's budget proposal, especially the 2% tax on services.

Bipartisan panel to meet on budget

Six members from both parties and houses will be meeting starting Wednesday (March 7) to work out a compromise on plugging the hole in the current year's budget. The group has set a March 15 deadline for their report, which is also the date by which Governor Granholm wants a budget agreement passed. Republicans have objected to the Governor's tying together solutions for the current and next fiscal years, because they feel it artificially builds pressure to increase taxes.

Senate GOP leader wants to avoid mid-year cuts

23 February -- Press reports indicate that while Senate Republicans are keeping their alternate budget proposals "close to the vest," a few details are seeping out. MIRS News, a state politics news service, reports that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) indicated that the GOP plan would not take back the per-pupil increase for schools originally budgeted for this year, avoiding mid-year cuts.


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