CHICAGO -- The Michigan Legislature adjourned for the summer on June 12 after failing to reach an agreement on new transportation funding despite weeks of intensive lobbying from business and labor groups and Gov. Rick Snyder.
In the final hours of their session, lawmakers did approve the final pieces of a $37.5 billion 2015 budget and send it to Snyder for his signature.
The governor called it a productive session, naming a high-profile, nine-bill legislative package for Detroit and a minimum wage increase as two achievements. But measures that would have raised taxes and fees to generate new money for the state's troubled roads and highways failed.
"Last night was a difficult night," Snyder said in a media call June 12, referring to a 12-hour Wednesday session that saw several road funding bills defeated by narrow votes. "Ultimately we need something that will pass through both chambers on my desk that involves more revenue and that's what we need."
The governor wants at least $1.2 billion in new annual funding for transportation in what has become one of his signature issues. It's the second year that Snyder has unsuccessfully pushed for passage of funding changes.
Snyder's fellow Republicans control the legislature but so far no consensus has emerged on transportation.
Senators defeated several bills that proposed gas tax increases of various sizes, including one bill that bundled the tax increase with a property tax credit as requested by Senate Democrats. The Senate also failed to pass a resolution that would have asked voters in November if the sales tax should be increased to 6% from 5%, with the new money going towards roads.
One of the measures would have raised nearly $1.5 billion in new money for transportation.
The House passed a $450 million road funding package in early May, but it failed to gain support in the Senate.
Snyder noted that the new 2015 budget included general fund revenue for road repairs badly needed after a hard winter, but said that a long-term structural solution is needed.
"It really has gravitated to being an issue that has the full attention of the members of both chambers and both parties, and I view that as positive progress," he said. But "we need a better solution, and I've been pretty consistent on that for two or three years by now."
The 2015 budget includes $271 million in general fund revenue for roads.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said he plans to form a work group over the summer to take up the issue.
Meanwhile, Snyder said he plans "an intensive review" of the new budget that lawmakers approved in final votes Thursday, but that he does not expect to veto any major items.
The 2015 spending plan includes a $1 billion increase in K-12 funding, which Snyder said is the biggest annual education spending bump in the state's history. The school aid fund totals $15.7 billion, which includes K-12 and higher education.
The state will boost revenue aid to local governments by 7.4%, or $1.2 billion, next year.
The new budget is a nearly 12% spending increase over the current budget. The state will set aside $94 million for the rainy-day fund.
The state's fiscal year begins Oct. 1.