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Conference committee comes up with deal on additional school funding in Michigan

LANSING, MI (WTVB) - The Michigan House-Senate conference committee on the public school budget has come up with a final deal. Most districts in Michigan will be getting about $50 dollars more per pupil next year.  The lowest funded schools, mostly small rural schools,  will get $175 more per pupil. For most schools, that’s less than one percent, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer of Battle Creek says that won’t even cover inflation. Sources say the determination by the revenue estimating committee that the state didn’t have nearly as many surplus dollars to spend as they thought is the reason for the smaller funding increases.

Meanwhile, time is running out for the legislature to put together a plan to fund roads before the summer break begins on Friday. Senate Leader Randy Richardville’s proposal is to ask voters for a one cent sales tax hike and if they say no to that in November,  increase the tax on wholesale gas instead. Gilda Jacobs at the League for Public Policy says her group would fight the sales tax increase.

Richardville is finding that a number of republicans also find the tax hike idea unacceptable...that means he will need democrats and Senator Gretchen Whitmer says she will want a tax break for the poor. Richardville needs a super majority by tomorrow, and then the house would have to go along and Speaker Jase Bolger says no one has asked his opinion on it. Stranger things have happened but it looks like road funding may have hit a dead end for now.