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The PoliTicker

Republicans likely would have tough time bypassing Snyder in MSU funding debate

By Ian Kullgren          Posted: 11/16/11 6:49pm         

Although a group of Michigan House Republicans have set out to strip MSU of more than $18 million of state funding, they face one big, road block: Rick Snyder.

A spokesperson for the governor indicated on Tuesday that Snyder sees the funding conflict between the state and MSU as resolved, and did not indicate he would approve such legislation if it came to his desk.

State Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, the chairman of the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced a bill in September that would strip MSU and Wayne State University $18.3 million in state funding on the grounds they increased tuition for this year higher than the 7.1 percent ceiling required to keep the entire amount.

“(Gov. Snyder) has basically said that’s not on his agenda,” Snyder spokesperson Sara Wurfel said Tuesday, adding the “bases (were) covered” after State Budget Director John Nixon sided in favor of MSU. Although she suggested Snyder did not support the bill, she said it would have to progress further before he made a decision. The bill currently is at its earliest stages, not yet coming to a vote in the House or Senate.

The dispute between government agencies has created friction between the university and state legislators. Although Nixon said last summer MSU did not violate the terms required to keep the entire amount of funding, the House Fiscal Agency found — under traditional terms of the academic year — the university actually increased tuition 9.4 percent, rather than the 6.9 percent claimed by the university.

Genetski, in a hearing with the House of Representative and MSU in July, accused the board of trustees and administration of knowingly raised tuition beyond the ceiling by tampering with the definition of the academic year.

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