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State of Michigan budget in place, ready to begin new fiscal year on Oct. 1

It is a budget that funds shared priorities such as education, economic development, public health, public safety, and the environment.
(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (Press releases/WLUC) - The Michigan Legislature and the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have worked together to put a Fiscal Year 2021 budget in place that will soon become law.

It is a budget that funds shared priorities such as education, economic development, public health, public safety, and the environment.

Highlights of the budget for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula include funding to cover a shortfall in retirement funding for the Michigan Works! UPward Talent Agency and flooding disaster relief matching funds. Previous funding, which had been set aside for these issues, was vetoed twice by the governor because of COVID-19 and a disagreement on the administration’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 45 cents, according to Sen. Ed McBroom and Rep. Greg Markkanen.

“The state has faced significant ups and downs with the budget throughout the past year,” said McBroom (R-Waucedah Township). “Despite the challenges, we were able to come together with bipartisan support to approve a balanced budget that is on time and that offers support for issues that are critically important to communities across the Upper Peninsula.”

In the legislation, Houghton and Baraga counties will receive $4 million in matching funds to help the region recover from the Father’s Day 2018 flooding that damaged hundreds of miles of roads and bridges. The state funding is necessary to receive vital federal matching funds.

Funding was restored from the previous veto in the amount of $1.1 million to help cover a shortfall in retirement funding for the Michigan Works! UPward Talent Agency. The agency, which provides services and support to the U.P.'s workforce development system, previously lost its pension funding.

“The matching funds for the Father’s Day flood and the retirement legacy costs were regularly brought to my attention as needing to be addressed by the state,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “I appreciate the work of local officials to advocate for these dollars and the support of my colleagues. I am hopeful the funding will finally make its way to the local communities.”

House Bill 5396 is a general omnibus budget that protects local revenue sharing and includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, as well as $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength.

When Gov. Whitmer introduced a recommended budget to the Legislature back in early February, Michigan had yet to experience its first case of COVID-19 and nobody knew how difficult the road ahead would become. The global pandemic has created not just public health challenges but created one of the most challenging and unique budget cycles in Michigan history.

“Saying that the development of the 2021 budget has been difficult would be an understatement, but I am very proud that we’ve been able to work together with the Legislature to put together a budget that moves Michigan forward,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I’d like to thank Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield for their hard work and collaboration at a time when Michigan needed us to come together. I appreciate their commitment and the trust that has been built over this past year.”

The budget will provide $30 million to fund the Michigan Reconnect program, providing a tuition-free pathway for adults looking to earn a postsecondary certificate or associate degree, while providing $12.6 million for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to ensure women are given the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy. A total of $26 million is also included to expand access to childcare for families by increasing the income limit from 130 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

The 2021 budget will include critical funding for programs focused on Michigan’s economic recovery, including $100 million for business attraction efforts and the restoration of $15 million for the popular Pure Michigan campaign.

To help kickstart Michigan’s economy, the FY21 budget also includes:

  • $1.5 million for Graduation Alliance to help adults obtain high school diplomas and placement in career training programs.
  • $3.75 million for the Jobs for Michigan Graduates program, which equips young adults with skills to overcome barriers and prevent school dropouts.

“Michigan was faced with an unprecedented budget shortfall because of the response to the coronavirus,” McBroom said. “Just like our hardworking U.P. families have had to make some tough decisions, the Legislature strived to survey needs and provide funding for shared priorities, including education, public safety and economic growth.”

“COVID had an unexpected impact on the budget and the budget process. The legislature and the Governor’s team worked together to move forward and deliver a spending plan for Michigan that increases school funding, protects funding for local communities, and supports the men and women who keep us safe. And, we did it all without raising taxes on our hardworking citizens. This budget is proof that our citizens and our state benefit most when there is an equal and cooperative relationship between the legislative and executive branches of government,” said Shirkey.

The budget will also include $14.3 million in broadband funding to help expand Internet access across the state.  The budget keeps schools, colleges, universities, and local government at their 2020 funding level.

“The economic impact of the coronavirus created an unprecedented challenge for state government, but more importantly it also created an incredible challenge for Michigan families,” said Chatfield. “The people of this state need our help, and they need the resources that will keep them safe and help them make ends meet once again. I am happy to say this budget agreement delivered. Our budget committees and representatives did great work finding a way to balance this budget while still protecting critical funding for healthcare, schools reopening safely, local public safety, fully phasing in the 2015 road funding plan, and other top priorities for Michigan families.”

The budget bills will be delivered to the governor in the coming days when she will then review and sign the bills prior to the start of the fiscal year on October 1.

State of Michigan Press Release, 2020. Michigan Legislature Press Release, 2020. Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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