Mich. Senate votes to keep funding high-tech jobs fund

      <p>The bill now goes to the House.</p>

      LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted to continue using $75 million a year from the state's settlement with tobacco companies and putting it into an economic development fund.

      Current law provides money for the 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund through the 2015-16 budget year. Legislation approved 33-4 by the Republican-led Senate on Thursday would provide $75 million a year for three additional years.

      The 8-year-old fund aims to encourage economic diversification and high-tech job creation in the life sciences, advanced manufacturing and defense industries.

      Michigan lawmakers in 2005 approved selling part of the state's tobacco settlement to gain $1 billion to invest in up-and-coming industries. Critics question if enough jobs have been created.

      The bill now goes to the House.

      (Copyright ©2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)