By Gary Heinlein, Detroit News Lansing Bureau
Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget presentation Thursday is expected to touch off another heated debate over the $2 billion Michigan spends on corrections, nearly one-fourth of the state’s general fund and $600 million more than it invests in higher education.
Lawmakers are pressuring Corrections director Dan Heyns to hold the line at the current mark of $2.011 billion, $1.94 billion of which comes from the general fund. The rest comes from fees and federal grants.
“That $2-billion threshold is the outstanding concern,” said state Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on corrections appropriations.
A steady rise in corrections costs for most of the past decade “diminishes our ability to use more funds in areas our constituents talk about on a daily basis,” such as roads, K-12 schools, universities and community colleges, Proos said.