State budget & taxes

Articles about state budget and tax policies, and how they affect school aid funding.

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

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.

Budget talks begin; school reserves questioned

1 March — Talks on the state budget deficit for this year and next, including what to do about the hole in the School Aid Fund, have begun in earnest now that Governor Granholm’s budget proposals have been introduced as bills in the legislature. (For details on the budget proposals, see our summary on this page.) The Governor and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) have had their first face-to-face meeting about the budget after an earlier exchange of letters.

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.

Dems submit bill for FY08 school aid appropriations

22 February — An appropriations bill on school aid for FY2008 was introduced yesterday by Sens. Michael Switalski (D-Roseville) and minority leader Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek). The bill increases spending from the School Aid Fund by 2.9% to $11.986 billion, raising per-pupil foundation allowances by $178 from what was originally budgeted for the current year. (This brings the “basic” foundation allowance to $7,286 from $7,085, since the $23 “equity payment” for low-spending districts was factored in as well.)

Senate GOP kills executive order

15 February — According to press reports, the Republican majority on the Senate Appropriations committee has rejected Gov. Granholm’s executive order proposing limited budget cuts. Republican Senators objected to the fact that the Governor’s plan depended on new taxes to make up much of the shortfall in revenue. The defeat of the executive order also leaves school funding in limbo.