Senate OKs rest of budget bills; Dems oppose college funding

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Local communities and public universities would receive about 2 percent more in state funding next fiscal year under Senate-passed budget bills that leave out Gov. Rick Snyder’s request for additional money for infrastructure and Flint emergency reserve funds.

The Republican-led chamber finished approving 16 spending bills Thursday. Now the Legislature and Snyder will resolve differences in coming weeks, with GOP legislative leaders pushing to potentially use hundreds of millions of uncommitted funds to help close the pension system to newly hired teachers.

Many bills won overwhelmingly support Thursday. But Democrats and some Republicans opposed a higher education plan that would give 15 public universities an overall 1.8 percent funding increase – below what Snyder wants.

Critics say five schools’ funding would remain below levels from seven years ago.

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