On Monday, June 29, Gov. Whitmer and legislative leaders reached a bipartisan agreement to make adjustments to the current fiscal year budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the new budget framework includes modest reductions to current year funding, it provides CARES Act funding to support Michigan schools and educators, universities and community colleges, and local governments to address the significant costs they face due to this unprecedented crisis.
Even with these steps, it’s crucial for Congress to pass additional financial support for states like ours so we can maintain the essential programs and services Michigan residents and neighborhood businesses rely on each day.
Maintaining Support for Michigan Schools and Local Governments
- $512 million in CARES Act funding to reimburse school districts for COVID-19 related expenses incurred so far this year and in preparation for safely returning students to the classroom in the fall.
- $53 million to provide $500 in Hazard Pay for every Michigan teacher.
- $200 million for universities and community colleges.
- $150 million for local governments for public health and first responders (in addition to the $300 million included in SB 690).
Solving the State Budget Shortfall
To fill the $2.2 billion revenue shortfall in Michigan’s FY19-20 budget, the bipartisan agreement shifts state and federal funds from the following sources and savings.
- $350 million used from the State Rainy Day Fund.
- $490 million in savings through state hiring and discretionary spending freezes, layoffs and other identified savings.
- $475 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for public safety.
- $256 million in state spending reductions for schools (offset by federal funds).
- $200 million in state spending reductions for universities and community colleges (offset by federal funds).
- $97 million in state spending reductions for local governments (offset by federal funds)
- $340 million in savings from continued enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds, state reductions replaced by federal COVID-19 funds and other savings.
For more information on the bipartisan budget agreement, click here.
Law Enforcement Accountability
The murder of George Floyd has yet again highlighted the desperate need for police reform in this country. Black families should not have to live in fear that their loved ones will be murdered by the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve.
As a former law enforcement officer, a Black man, and simply a human being, I am disgusted by the criminal actions of officers who abuse their power. As someone who has dedicated most of my life to upholding peace and justice, I want to see them behind bars and their enabling superior officers who swept countless previous complaints under the rug held accountable for their negligence. Some professions simply do not have room for bad actors, and law enforcement is one of them. Police culture itself must be examined and fundamentally changed.
We must take systemic responsibility and action to heal the multi-generational trauma that has broken hearts, families, and communities. Our institutions desperately need to live up to the call of our Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.
We must co-create systems that end oppression and build equity in order to fulfill our promise and oath to serve and protect all people.
To these ends, I am currently drafting legislation to create a central database for police officers who have been found guilty of departmental violations or crimes that include but are not limited to: use of force, assault, mistreatment of persons in custody, falsifying reports, and failure to report misconduct. This will prevent officers with a history of unethical behavior from simply resigning from one department and accepting an offer for a new position in a neighboring community.
There is still much work to be done to change the culture within law enforcement, but increasing accountability is an important first step.
Auto No-Fault Changes
Changes to Michigan’s auto insurance system will take effect on July 1. I recently held a virtual town hall to discuss these changes, which you can view here.
State Representative, 6th House District