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Budget bills for colleges approved by legislative panel

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Michigan's charitable tax credit allows taxpayers to essentially double their contributions to certain nonprofits

Michigan's 15 public universities would get an overall 2 percent boost in state funding under legislation ironed out by lawmakers.

A Republican-led conference committee voted 5-1 for the $1.6 billion higher education budget bill Tuesday, with one Democrat in opposition. Schools' funding increases would range from 1.5 percent to 2.7 percent. Five universities' state aid would remain below levels from seven years ago.

Legislators are advancing spending measures after setting targets without Gov. Rick Snyder due to an impasse over closing the pension system to newly hired school employees. It's unclear if the full Legislature will vote without a deal with the Republican governor.

Twenty-eight community colleges would see an overall 1 percent funding boost under another bill approved Tuesday. Increases would range from 0.6 percent to 3.2 percent.

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