LEGISLATURE FINISHES THE 2006-07 BUDGET
There was no all-night session, no hurried negotiations on a last
minute controversy, no frustrated vote trading, so it hardly seemed
possible the Legislature completed work on the 2006-07 budget on
Wednesday. But in fact, the budget is now in the books, as the House
and Senate moved relatively quickly to complete action on the conference
reports to the budgets.
Only a few of the budgets even generated comment as the House and
Senate approved the measures, the greatest concern probably being over
potential cuts to the Wayne County-Detroit community mental health
system if it does not become an authority.
There are some elements of the 2006-07 budget yet undone, most
significantly the capital outlay budget. In recent years, however, it
has not been unusual for the capital outlay budget to be completed past
the October 1 start of the fiscal year.
In the Senate, members applauded Appropriations Committee chair Sen.
Shirley Johnson (R-Troy) for shepherding her last budget through the
Legislature. Ms. Johnson is term-limited from running for re-election,
and between her time on the House Appropriations Committee and the
Senate panel has worked on 24 budgets.
HIGHER EDUCATION: SB 1088 represents the first actual increase in
funding for the state's 15 public four-year colleges since the 2001-02
The budget totals $1.787 billion in total spending, with $1.6 billion
in general funds. The largest individual percentage university
increases in funding go to those schools officials have said received
the lowest per pupil expenditures: Grand Valley State University,
Saginaw Valley State University and Oakland University.
Grand Valley's overall increase totaled 6 percent. The lowest
increases were allocated to Wayne State University and Michigan
Sen. Deborah Cherry (D-Burton) said the budget was the best higher
education budget she had been able to work on for the last four years.
Mr. Hummel also praised approval of a funding formula for the
universities, saying, "This is one the most significant steps we could
The bill passed 37-0 in the Senate and 104-2 in the House.
SCHOOL AID: The state's largest single budget, in SB 1095, includes a
$210 per pupil increase in the foundation allowance. It passed the
Senate on a 36-1 vote and in the House on a 103-3 vote.
Mr. Hummel said that while per-student funding was reduced compared to
the measure which passed the House, that he is hopeful the dollars will
produce tangible results and that more spending can be found in future
And House Minority Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga) said, "For too
long, the status quo has left our students struggling to keep up and our
workers struggling to get by while they see their jobs getting
outsourced. This plan sends a clear signal: We're going to fight for
the best schools and the best-trained workforce around."
The budget totals $13.2 billion. Included in it is $20 million to be
paid a number of school districts with declining enrollments, and of
that $7 million is to go to the Detroit Public Schools