LANSING (WKZO) -- Reaction to the Governor’s Budget Proposal has been swift and varied and not always predictable.
It would put 250-million into roads and 120-million into the state’s rainy day fund. It also contributes more to education, and would give tax relief to poor and moderate residents by restoring the Homestead Property Tax Credit.
Democrats say it doesn’t go nearly far enough to restore the damage done to those programs by the first four years of the Snyder administration.
House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel calls the proposal to boost public education 2.8% "a drop in the bucket".
80% of that money would go into the education pension fund, not into the classroom, resulting in an increase for classrooms of just over half a percent.
Critics say that won’t even keep up with inflation.
Gilda Jacobs at the League for Public Policy says the Governor’s proposal to increase funding for pre-school programs is an excellent investment in children, and will get many more off to the good start they will need to succeed in school.
The Governor claims he is spending more on education, but most educators and democrats say he is not. It all depends on how you do the math.
One of the big winners in the Governor’s budget proposal would be higher education, if his proposal survives the legislature. Snyder is proposing a 6% increase in funding for the State’s four-year universities.
WMU Vice President Greg Rosine says now they just have to convince lawmakers to keep it in the budget.
He says even with the hike, it will only bring them up to funding levels from the mid-90’s. The 6% increase comes with a string attached, that the schools keep tuition hikes under 3.2%.
The governor wants to restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit which will help an estimated one-point three million taxpayers. That would provide 103-million dollars in tax relief for low and middle-income families and seniors, on average they would get about $75.
It may be the one proposal least likely to survive the legislative meat-grinder.
Most of the proposals being floated in the legislature to return surplus dollars involve income tax cuts, which would offer little help to the poor or retired.
The Legislative agenda will pick up now that the Governor has delivered his 52-billion dollar spending proposal. Holland Republican Joe Haveman, who chairs the House Appropriations committee says the Governor proposes, but the legislature disposes.
He says the surplus could make those talks more contentious, with many groups seeking surplus dollars.
The goal is to have the budget done by late May or early June.