In Michigan
5:25 pm
Mon June 7, 2010

Surplus in SAF raises questions for the rest of the budget

LANSING, MI –

There are several points of contention over the state budget that may foretell a long summer for lawmakers at the state Capitol. That includes how to reform the state's prisons system, fund Medicaid, and raise money for bridges and roads.

As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, a surplus in the School Aid Fund is fast becoming a pot of money to fight over.

AUDIO:
Money for the School Aid Fund can only be used on education. But it could be moved around to budgets for universities or community colleges. Senate Republicans say that could free-up money to fill holes in other areas of the budget.

But House Democrats don't appear eager to move money away from schools, and would rather use the surplus to pay back some funds cut from schools last year.

Democratic Representative Terry Brown says schools need to know soon how much money they have coming from the state.

"So we need to get that done sooner," he says. "And yeah, absolutely, I think everybody's of the opinion that this has just got to get done."

Lawmakers have less than a month to figure out their differences on schools funding if they want to meet a self-imposed deadline of July 1.