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Tax revenues continue to fall; schools warned of cuts

The news just keeps getting better and better. State officials are forecasting that state tax revenue for the rest of the year will end up even below the estimates which were revised downward in January. The state budget director has notified school districts across the state that, unless the Legislature agrees on measures to close the growing school funding gap, the governor will have no choice but to order substantial cuts to school funding - on the order of $90 to $125 per pupil.

House Dems propose smaller K12 increase, bigger equity payment, for FY08

Departing from the Governor's proposals, House Democrats have moved a bill that would increase foundation allowances by only $100 for next year, but give most districts an additional $100 equity payment. Governor's proposal trimmed The amended version of HB4359, the School Aid appropriations bill for fiscal 2008, passed the School Aid and Education Appropriations subcommittee on a party line vote. The bill increases overall spending on school aid by $295 million compared to this year, but comes in $42 million short of the Governor's original recommendation.

What's next? Budget struggle moves to the House

In a deft reversal of spin, Republican lawmakers and allied "opinion leaders" are pushing the notion that Senate Republicans have taken leadership on the budget question, including school aid, by passing their two appropriations bills last week. It's the Democrats and the Governor, they argue, who should be called on the carpet for not presenting their plans.

Budget negotiaions collapse; Senate rams through alternative

22 March -- Negotiations among Democratic and Republican legislative leaders and the Governor broke down this afternoon after the two sides were unable to find common ground about new revenue or addressing both fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2008 at the same time. Shortly afterward, Gov. Granholm issued a new Executive Order that specified $344 million in cuts and savings from the General Fund portion of the budget. Republican lawmakers in the Senate made good on their promise to plug the budget hole without raising taxes.

Budget talks begin in earnest

20 March -- Leaders from both houses of the Legislature finally sat down to negotiate with the Governor over their competing plans for closing the current state budget deficit. House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), along with other key lawmakers, met with Gov. Jennifer Granholm in private for several hours today. When they emerged from the meeting, they agreed that the talks had been "productive," but all of them declined to provide any specifics.

More posturing than substance on budget

19 March -- The posturing is well under way before the three-way budget negotiations begin.

Town Hall meeting on the state budget

[From AAParentsforSchools.org] Washtenaw County legislators met with local citizens, city leaders and school officials tonight to explain the current state budget crisis and seek public support for their solutions. Speaking to a very interested audience, the four Democratic lawmakers underlined their commitment to finding new sources of revenue for the state budget and school aid fund rather than relying on further cuts to balance the budget.

Pensions and health care in the spotlight

12 March -- Uncertainty continues to surround budget talks at the Capitol, but there are hints in news reports that some legislators may be inching towards attacking health care costs by making teachers state employees. [Update: press reports indicate that the bipartisan working group on the budget has unraveled, leaving the leaders of the two chambers to hammer out potential solutions.]

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.


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