How Michigan’s new $54.9 billion budget will affect you

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Detroit school children, Flint residents and residents across the state will be affected when the next state budget takes effect in three months.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has signed the $54.9 billion spending plan after months of deliberation by the GOP-controlled Legislature. It will touch many corners of Michigan life — from spending on public schools and road repairs to increased dental coverage for low-income children and how many state troopers patrol the highways.

A look at the budget’s impact on you:

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EDUCATION

If you:

— have a child in a traditional public or charter school, per-pupil grants will increase by $60 to $120, or 0.7 percent to 1.6 percent. The gap between wealthier and poorer districts will shrink.

— have a child in the lowest-achieving 5 percent of schools, the school could see new leadership. There is new money — $5 million — for the state to hire “CEOs” to turn around academics, starting with four buildings in East Detroit Public Schools.

— have a child who goes to a parochial or other private school, the school could qualify for part of $2.5 million set aside to reimburse nonpublic schools for the cost of meeting state requirements such as safety drills and immunization reporting. Public school groups say the aid is unconstitutional and likely will file a lawsuit.

— attend a public school, you might be in school more. K-12 districts are required to have at least 180 days of instruction instead of 175. Districts with an existing labor contract that sets a shorter calendar do not have to comply until the agreement expires.

— attend one of Michigan’s 15 public universities, your tuition and fees are unlikely to rise more than 4.2 percent or else the school will lose funding. Two universities that exceeded the cap last year will lose more aid than expected.

— live in Detroit, the budget includes the first payment toward a $617 million bailout and restructuring of the city’s debt-ridden public school district.

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TRANSPORTATION

— You will see more orange barrels. The transportation budget includes an extra $218 million in spending, a 5.6 percent increase, much of it for road and bridge work. Fuel tax and vehicle registration fee hikes that were approved last year will take effect in January.

— Your local public transit system will get a nearly $19 million, or 11 percent, boost in state funding under the tax and fee increases.

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LAW AND ORDER

— You can apply to become a state trooper. The state plans to graduate 65 new troopers and 10 new motor carrier officers, bringing trooper ranks to their highest level since 2002.

— The budget sets aside $2 million that public and private schools can compete for to make security upgrades.

— If you live in Muskegon Heights, Inkster, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park or Benton Harbor, you may get more police. State troopers will begin patrolling the higher-crime cities under an expanded initiative that started in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw.

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TAXES/FEES

— You can e-file your state income tax return for free once a system is developed for $2.8 million.

— It will cost more to look up driver records — $11 instead of $8, raising $14 million to replace computer systems at the secretary of state’s office.

— When filing a lawsuit, you will pay a fee ranging from $5 to $25 in support of a statewide e-filing system. The fees were to begin being assessed in March.

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FLINT

If you live in Flint, where the tap water was contaminated with lead, another $165 million in state assistance has been committed. The city will replace many more underground lead pipes. Other aid will go toward ongoing water bill credits. The spending also is intended to specifically help children — subsidizing child care, providing healthy food to reduce lead poisoning risks and covering psychotherapy sessions. More is being spent on the state attorney general’s investigation of the crisis, too.

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WATER

The budget allocates:

— $5 million for a new statewide infrastructure fund, far less than initially proposed by Snyder.

— nearly $3 million to draw down all available federal funding for a program that provides low-interest loans to municipalities for drinking water infrastructure upgrades.

— $4.5 million to reimburse schools that voluntarily test their water for lead.

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STATE WORKERS

Your pay will rise by 1 percent in October, when you also will get a one-time payment equivalent to 1.5 percent of your annual pay.

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VETERANS

— You and others will be able to lodge complaints with a new veterans facility ombudsman about care or other issues at the state’s two veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Marquette.

— There is an additional $1.8 million to boost wages for privately hired nursing assistants at the troubled state-run Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. An audit in February uncovered insufficient care and inadequate staffing levels at the 415-resident facility. The 160 nursing aides will earn $13 an hour, up from $11.25 now and $10.25 as recently as April.

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE

If you:

— work at the Pugsley prison south of Traverse City, it is closing to save $27 million. Guards and other employees will either lose their jobs or be transferred to other prisons.

— are an advocate of re-examining Michigan’s law that treats 17-year-old criminals as adults, the state is spending $500,000 to study the savings of considering them as juveniles.

— want to see indigent defendants get better legal representation, the budget includes $1.3 million more to implement minimum standards and to monitor counties’ compliance.

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HEALTH CARE

— The budget expands dental coverage to 131,000 low-income 13- to 21-year-olds in Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties, the final step toward implementing the Healthy Kids Dental program statewide.

— There is nearly $300 million to provide just two specialty drugs — for hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis — to several thousand people on Medicaid or in prison.

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