LANSING (FOX 2) - The governor wants to spend $15 billion on Michigan schools including a $180 per pupil increase for needy schools. The school fix is in addition to the road fix that Gretchen Whitmer put in the hopper today.
That loud applause around the state today was from the state's education community. The higher education community and community college are get a 3 percent-plus state aid increase.
And $180 new dollars per pupil in underfunded schools and $120 per pupil in the more well-to-do districts. But what will that money buy?
"It buys more teachers in the classrooms, it buys social workers and school counselors," said Don Wotruba, CEO state school board association. "And text books and I put our schools in a place to not even solve the problem, but at least start addressing some of the problems financially they've had in districts over the last decade."
The governor's new $60 billion plus budget seeks to improve the state's water supply, hire 50 additional state troopers and there's that proposed .45 cents a gallon gas tax hike that will cost the average motorist about $275 additional each year, with a little less for needy families.
The governor is under no illusions. This will be a tough sell to a GOP legislature with a history of rejecting tax hikes.
But the Republican chair of the house budget committee is not voting yes however he stops short of declaring her tax hike dead on arrival.
"I don't think the Republican legislature is going to have a whole lot of appetite to raise gas taxes .45 cents," said Rep. Shane Hernandez (R).
The governor know she does not have the votes today to increase the gas tax but on day one of her sell job, she's encouraged.
"I am encouraged by some of the remarks that have come out from conservative-minded people," Whitmer said. "From the business groups, from the front-line educators. I think there is a whole coalition here that sees how serious this is, and what it will take to fix it. This is, for once, a real solution that will fix the problem."
Former Gov. Rick Snyder wanted Republicans to give him $2 billion a year for roads and they did not.
So is there any hope they will shell a whopping $2.5 billion for the democratic governor? She's hoping the answer is yes.