Detroit (WXYZ) - Governor Rick Snyder outlined his budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year and critics quickly labeled it an election year budget full of fuzzy math.
Snyder says Michigan's comeback and $1 billion surplus puts the state in better position to invest in priorities, including education and public health as well as providing tax relief for low and middle-income families.
"This is about fueling Michigan's future in a very positive, constructive way," Snyder told legislators at a joint appropriate committee meeting in Lansing.
Increased state support for education is the biggest takeaway from the Governor's budget recommendation for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Snyder is calling for $80.3 million additional dollars, a 6.1% increase for universities. It's the biggest increase for higher education under Snyder. In 2011, Snyder's first year in office, the state cut funding for universities by 15 percent as he tried to deal with the state's $1.5 billion budget deficit.
Michigan's 28 community colleges will see a 3 percent hike in funding, which is an additional $8.9 million.
K-12 funding would see an increase of $322 million under the recommendation. Most of it would go toward increased school retirement costs.
Other budget highlights:
Money for Detroit: The state is setting aside $17.5 million per year in tobacco settlement reserves for a 20-year period cover issues related to the city's bankruptcy.
Tax relief: $103 million for low and middle-income families through the Homestead Property Tax Credit.
Expanded Medicaid Coverage: $71.7 million.
Roads and Bridges: $254 million to match federal aid for infrastructure projects.
State Police: $17.8 million to train 100 additional troopers and 31 motor carrier officers.
In a statement issued in response to Snyder's budget proposal, Mark Schauer, the likely democratic opponent in November said "Governor Snyder's election year budget is filled with more fuzzy math and accounting gimmicks, and continues the same failed policies that created the fourth worst employment in the nation." If elected, Schauer said he would make education "our number one priority."
The proposed budget calls for $52.1 billion in spending. The legislature will have to approve the budget recommendation. The new fiscal year begins October first.