Gov. Snyder unveils $55B state budget focusing on schools

Gov. Rick Snyder was working the room, pitching his new $55 billion state budget but outside the room at the state Capitol, didn't like it.

"We don't trust anything 'Tricky Ricky' says," said activist Rev. W.J. Rideout. 

Snyder got a warmer reception inside from both Democrats and Republicans because he wants to boost state aid by $120 per pupil for wealthy school districts and $240 per pupil in poorer districts. He also wants a greater return on that investment.

"Hopefully it can make a difference in the classroom and I encourage us to work hard with our educational partners," Snyder said. "We do need to show better performance from our kids."

The governor wants to pump an extra $150 million into road repairs.

"I-75 south of Detroit in the Downriver area, that's a monster project," Snyder said. "I-75 in Oakland County, I-696 is a critical project we are working on with the concrete issues."

The governor cried uncle and asked lawmakers to restore prison food services to state government union employees. He concludes the costs were too high and the benefits too low. It took him three years to get there.

A controversial experiment to privatize prison food services is on the chopping block tonight as the governor concludes it did not work. That's one of the takeaways from the release of the governor's new $55 billion budget.

"We saw the maggots in the food and all the terrible stuff that has taken place - sex with the inmates," said Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason). It was tragic. To me I see this time and time again when they privatize services for cost savings. We saw what a debacle it was."

The governor also took a bow for spending $600 million to fight sex abuse on college campuses but Kristy Pagan, D-Canton, bitterly complains that those are federal dollars and the governor needs to pump more state dollars into this problem because 50 counties are not getting any help.

"If Ingham County actually had the resources that they needed," said Rep. Kristie Pagan (D-Oakland County). "Maybe we would have stopped Larry Nassar."

On election year tax break, Snyder said he will go there but warned lawmakers not to spend too much on that because it could take away from the kids in the schools.