LANSING, Mich., July 1, 2022 — Today, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2023 state budget, which contains significant investments in our state infrastructure, health care programs, our public schools and universities, and several major projects for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Two major projects state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) submitted budget requests for were funded, including $10 million for Buffalo Reef in Lake Superior, and a $34 million state match to replace the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.

“Getting state legislators to make the largest investment in Buffalo Reef to date is a milestone that should be celebrated by all Michiganders. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community led the charge over a decade ago for state and federal officials to get serious about developing a long-term plan for permanently cleaning up the stamp sands left after a century of copper mining, and we are taking that first step today.”

On the passage of the $34 million federal match for the rebuilding of the Dominic Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Cambensy credits Majority Chairman of the Military and Veteran Affairs House Appropriation Subcommittee, state Rep. Tommy Brann (R- Wyoming) and Minority Chairman state Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti) for securing a $100 placeholder required in order to negotiate the funding at all.

“Without my colleagues from Lower Michigan fiercely advocating for the replacement of our Jacobetti Home for Veterans at the beginning of the budget process, we would not have had the chance to negotiate and secure its funding this budget cycle. I’m grateful for their leadership to put a project for our veterans in the U.P. as a top priority of our state.”

Other major state budget items that were passed include $693 million in school safety and infrastructure improvements, $47 million for school health centers and $2.65 billion in debt reduction for public employee pensions that will help relieve local municipal and school district budget constraints.

Even with passage of the $74 billion state budget, Cambensy was surprised to see an $8 million blight elimination grant for the former Marquette General Hospital property in Marquette. Cambensy first heard about the grant award after it was already considered a done deal in the budget language at 4 pm yesterday.

“No one is saying who asked for this funding in the budget for the old hospital demolition. But to have a private entity bump off other community-based projects on U.P. legislators’ lists, projects requests like the Great Lakes Recovery Center or the phase II of the Luce CR paving project from Grand Marais to Deer Creek, it’s concerning. I don’t think taxpayers want their money to go to private developer projects to increase their return on investment. If you want state tax dollars, I think it’s only fair that the community demand that there is full and total transparency of the old hospital project.”