Due to House rules, I won’t be able to send you another e-news until after the election. Before I go quiet for the next month, I wanted to send out an update on the State of Michigan Budget.
On September 30, Gov. Whitmer signed House Bill 5396 and Senate Bill 927. These two bills outline what our FY 2020-2021 state budget will look like, though there may be some smaller changes in the future.
The budget protects schools, colleges, universities, and local governments from state funding reductions. The budget also includes new education investments focused on providing students, teachers, and adults across Michigan with needed resources, including:
- $161 million in flexible per pupil spending to help districts address the increased costs of educating students while in a pandemic.
- $30 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to provide a tuition-free pathway for adults to earn a postsecondary certificate or associate degree.
- $5.6 million for mental health counselors to assist children in schools across Michigan with mental health needs.
- $5 million in incentives to attract and retain first-year teachers in districts across Michigan.
- An increase of $5.7 million to continue to fund literacy coaches and expand resources to improve training for other educators in best practices of literacy learning.
- $2 million in additional support to assist vulnerable students who are learning remotely, including special education students, students who are chronically absent, and children in need of childcare while their parents are working.
- Implementation of previously announced teacher hazard payments of up to $500 per teacher, along with the addition of payments of up to $250 for school support staff.
- $1 million for school meal debt forgiveness.
When it comes to priorities for families across Michigan, the budget includes:
- $12.6 million for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to ensure women are given the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy and to expand support for interventions that are proven to improve outcomes.
- $26 million to expand access to childcare for families by increasing the income limit from 130% to 150% of the federal poverty level, expanding childcare services to nearly 6,000 children.
- $135 million to extend the $2.00/hour wage increase for direct care workers assisting the elderly and other vulnerable individuals during this especially difficult time.
- $20 million in additional support for nursing homes for COVID-19-related cost increases.
- $20 million to support the state’s psychiatric hospitals so that Michiganders in need of mental health services have improved access and care.
- $2 million for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to protect Michigan families from lead in their homes.
- $10 million to implement foster care policies to keep more children with families rather than entering congregate care.
- $2.5 million to provide first responders with the mental health services they need, including treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
In Genesee County, we have secured continued public safety assistance, additional funding to ensure that children affected by lead poisoning receive educational assistance, and reinstatement of the summer youth employment initiative for 2021, which provides employment opportunities for at-risk youth.
I hope you’ve found this information interesting. If you would like to learn more about our state budget, or read the budget bills in their entirety, visit: www.house.mi.gov/hfa.
As always, if there is anything I can do to assist you, please reach out. You can call my office at (517) 373-7515 or send us an email at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov.
Be safe and enjoy Michigan’s lovely fall colors and activities.
State Representative, 49th House District