With an all Republican-controlled legislature, a Republican governor and media stories about schools and other state programs facing cuts, most people may not be aware the state’s 2012-13 budget will be about $1.6 billion larger than last year.

The initial appropriations for the 2012-13 budget will be $49 billion, slightly more than this year’s $47.4 billion.

The state dollars in the total budget increased from $28.1 billion this year to $29.1 billion in 2012-13. And the School Aid Fund, which funds K-12 Public Schools, will increase from $11 billion in 2011-12 to $11.2 billion in 2012-13.

"Michigan government will spend more year after year just on its auto-pilot policies, even without lobbyists trying to squeeze taxpayers for more," said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

One of the biggest increases in the 2012-13 budget is Medicaid, Hohman said. The Department of Health and Human Services saw its budget for 2012-13 increase by $740 million.

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Jim Riley got his own fiscal house in order so he could retire. Now he wonders why his city government can’t do the same for their employees, and taxpayers who could end with huge bills from the unfunded retirement liabilities.

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