Snyder unveils $52B budget

 Includes tax cut for homeowners 

By David Eggert
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday proposed a $52 billion state budget that includes a tax break for moderate-income homeowners and a 6 percent funding boost for public universities that have seen their state aid slashed in the last decade.

The Republican governor called for restoring the Homestead Property Tax Credit to additional homeowners and changing how it is calculated so that qualifying residents could get a bigger break. The tax change would be retroactive to last tax year and continue into the future, with residents who apply first getting a refund check this summer.

Snyder said 1.3 million residents could benefit overall. In 2011, he and Republican lawmakers made many households ineligible for the tax break as part of a business tax cut.

“This is about fueling Michigan’s future in a very positive, constructive way,” Snyder, who is up for re-election in November, told budget-writing lawmakers gathered in the Capitol. “Michigan is back on track.”

Overall spending would increase about 2 percent from the current fiscal year, Snyder said.

He called for a 6 percent funding increase for Michigan’s public universities. Their funding is down one-third from just seven years ago and was cut significantly in his first year in office.

Snyder also proposed extra money for road and bridge maintenance thanks in part to a nearly $1 billion surplus over three years, giving up — for now — on his stalled proposal to raise gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees.

Overall spending on K-12 schools would rise about 3 percent, with the traditional per-pupil grant increasing from $83 to $111 per student.