Michigan Senate gives final approval to $56.7 billion budget

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WLNS) – A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk after the Republican-led Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes.

The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges. There is less for prison spending and environmental cleanup.

Republicans say the budget includes record spending on K-12 education, money to train new state troopers and addresses debt in the teacher retirement system.

Programs to support food assistance and help with heating costs also were included in the budget.

That drew praise from the Michigan League for Public Policy. That group’s President and CEO Gilda Jacobs said “The decision to continue funding the Healthy Michigan Plan is a win for all Michiganians—especially the 660,000 residents who rely on the plan for healthcare.”

Democrats say while the plan is better than one adopted earlier by GOP lawmakers, money used to steer newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only retirement benefit should have been used to repair deteriorating roads and bridges.

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