Michigan House approves $38.8 billion general spending bill

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WLNS) – The Michigan House has approved a $38.8 billion budget bill that would boost spending on road construction, dental coverage for low-income teens and the state attorney general’s criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis.

Big-ticket new spending approved 76-32 Wednesday includes the state’s share of Medicaid expansion costs under the federal health care law and expenses associated with providing expensive specialty drugs to people with Hepatitis C or cystic fibrosis.

Many Democrats voted against the bill. They have objections to a company serving food in prisons, funding levels for local governments and public money covering the Gov. Rick Snyder’s legal bills in Flint-related criminal probes.

After the Senate OKs its own budget plan, legislators hope to have a deal by early June – four months before the new fiscal year.

State Rep. Al Pscholka said, “paying down debt is not a sexy topic. It doesn’t generate the big headlines, but it’s the most important thing we can do for future generations of Michiganders.”

“This budget pays down over a billion dollars in debt, while making responsible investments in our areas of need.”

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