The Traverse City Area Chamber and its partners at the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance were able to close the deal on several of their major legislative priorities that were addressed with Michigan lawmakers at their meetings in May on the anticipated 2017-18 state budget being finalized by legislators this week. They include:
-Restoration of “2x” funding in the state’s per-pupil education allowance, closing the gap down to $658 per pupil between highest and lowest paid districts. Here are more details in an issue paper on the 2x funding issue, and further explanation in the latest edition of the Northern Michigan Business Blog.
-An increase in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math )program funding, including a $2.9 million increase for STEM program grants for organizations like Newton’s Road. Here are more details in this advocacy letter to state Sen. Geoff Hansen that several area business leaders joined in supporting.
-Increase for the popular Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF).
The anticipated state budget deal also includes funding authorization for Northwestern Michigan College’s 21st Century Innovation Center, and restoration of Pure Michigan tourism promotional funding which had been reduced in a House committee budget. Thanks to our Alliance partners and local business representatives who worked hard to gain these significant budget amendments.