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Legislature approves state budget, governor signs – July 4, 2017

In a nearly unanimous vote after midnight, the Legislature passed a budget bill that funds a $162 million increase in General Purpose Aid to support schools and reduce property taxes.

The vote in the House was 147-to-2 and unanimous in the Senate. The governor immediately signed the budget, ending speculation about a veto.

The budget would send $48.4 million to schools in the fiscal year that started July 1 and $113.6 million next year. It stipulates that half of that funding must be used for property tax relief.

The vote came after day three of a state government shutdown. Leaders from both parties were in negotiation with each other and the governor throughout that time to come to a final agreement. Key to that support was removal of a proposed hike in the state’s lodging tax.

The budget includes reforms that tie funding for administration to regional sharing and targets more money for economically disadvantaged students. It also repeals the tax on high-income earners passed by Question 2 on the November ballot in 2016.

Information about when the Department of Education will update spreadsheets (EDU-279s) on how much individual districts will be receiving as a result of the new budget will be sent out to MSBA and MSSA members as soon as it is available.

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