By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LANSING, MI (WNEM/AP) -
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a nearly $49 billion state budget that sets aside more money to fix deteriorating roads and provides preschool to low-income children.
The spending plan approved Thursday by the Republican governor goes into effect Oct. 1.
The entire budget is about 1 percent larger than the current year.
It blocks the state from paying to implement more rigorous standards in reading, writing and math until the GOP-led Legislature says it's OK.
The budget includes $350 million for road and bridge maintenance. But that's only a third of what the governor suggested is needed to pay for the significant improvements roads need.
TV5 spoke to some Michigan residents at the Bay City State Park on Thursday night, when they addressed the need for better roads.
"It would take an awful lot more than what he is setting aside," said Joanne Gerst, who is spending the week camping with her husband Walt.
The Gersts said they ran into many rough patches of road on their trip from Big Rapids.
Ted McLachlan and his wife are from Croswell and are camping through the weekend. He said the roads not only rattle his truck and camper, but also hurts his gas mileage.
"Bad roads makes it worse because then you're always bouncing, if you're running smooth, you get better gas mileage," said McLachlan.
The additional $350 million is far short of the $1.2 billion a year Snyder says is needed to address declining gasoline tax revenue, but he said that's all the state can afford to remain "fiscally responsible" and without raising additional fees or taxes.
Snyder exercised few line-item vetoes.
One deal is with a high-speed rail project in southwestern Michigan.
The new budget also includes millions of dollars back into education. Most of that money will be going to K-12 education.
Schools should expect to see a funding increase of about 3-percent. 65-million dollars would go towards early childhood education and 32-million dollars will go to universities and community colleges.
However, universities would have to keep tuition increases at 3-point-75 percent or lower to get additional money.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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