A new proposal in Lansing would offer free college tuition to all Michigan high school graduates.

Graduates would have to attend a state college or university.  The proposal is estimated to cost $1.8 billion the first year.

Freep.com explains more about Wednesday's proposal:

Lead sponsor and Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, told the (Senate Finance) committee it's time for the state to consider the long-term consequences of what she called a disinvestment in higher education.

"For too long, we've let annual budget debates trump all other concerns," she said. "We hear too often about what we can't do. This is something we can do."

Wednesday's testimony about the benefits of postsecondary education elicited a warm reception from Democrats and Republicans on the committee. But there was virtually no discussion of how to pay annual tuition for more than 200,000 students.

The legislation calls for the program to be funded with higher tax revenues realized from the closure of unspecified tax loopholes. Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, said after the hearing he believed that none of the Republicans on the committee were ready to support that idea.

A fine idea, but we need more details about where the money is coming from to take this seriously.