One of my favorite things about representing the Capital City is that so many of my constituents are highly engaged with state government and the state budget process.
Today’s e-newsletter focuses on our state budget for fiscal year 2021-22, signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the form of Public Acts 86 and 87. As you may remember, the Legislature passed the school aid budget back in August, now Public Act 48, which was covered in my July e-newsletter. To read the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency analysis of each bill, click here for Public Act 86 (universities and community colleges), here for Public Act 87 (general government) or here for Public Act 48 (School Aid/K-12).
Many of you may be aware that Michigan has received billions of dollars from the federal government as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act. After the passage of this fiscal year budget, the state still has about $11 billion in unappropriated revenue — $5.7 billion remaining in federal COVID-19 recovery dollars and $5.3 billion from unanticipated state revenue. The federal funding must be spent or allocated by the end of the 2024 calendar year.
Leaders in the legislative and executive branches are still negotiating over how to allocate this money and reviewing proposal applications. We expect to see supplemental spending bills passed in the coming weeks. I will continue to do my part to ensure the money is spent on programs and services that make life better for you and your family each and every day.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions or comments about the FY 21-22 budget or the additional federal funding. It remains my pleasure to serve you and I look forward to connecting with you again soon.
I was proud to vote yes on both budget bills last week. As state representative for Lansing, it is especially important to me that our budget passed on time — something especially crucial for all the state employees throughout Greater Lansing.
These bills will implement a $70 billion budget that puts the full support of the state behind working families and all communities across the state. The budget makes record levels of investment in economic opportunity, child care, infrastructure, health care and our local communities, ensuring all Michiganders have the resources they need to succeed and thrive.
Gov. Whitmer, House Republicans and House Democrats came together to craft a budget that puts the people of Michigan first.
In addition to the line items highlighted below, the budget also brings the Budget Stabilization Fund (affectionately known as the rainy day fund) to a total balance of nearly $1.4 billion, the largest balance in state history.
Wins for Greater Lansing
- $1 million for increased public safety and Capitol security.
- $365,835 for Ingham County’s Advance Peace Gun Violence Prevention Program.
- $2 million for a new performing arts center for the Lansing area.
- $4.5 million in behavioral health funding to repurpose the McLaren Greenlawn campus, consolidate their services and expand their capacity.
- $100 million in new community revitalization grants to redevelop neighborhoods and support small businesses.
- $1.46 million in funding for community organizations in Lansing that provide vital services and support to the hardworking families in Mid-Michigan — including the Allen Neighborhood Center, Mikey 23 Foundation, Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, Firecracker Foundation, Child and Family Charities and the Poor People’s Campaign.
- 2% increase for statutory revenue sharing payments to cities, villages, townships and counties. The budget adjusts Constitutional Revenue Sharing to reflect higher-than-expected sales tax revenues due to Michigan’s strong economic recovery. This is an increase of $71 million to local communities across the state to help fund police, fire and public safety.
- Allocates approximately $2.7 billion in federal supplemental relief funds, including mortgage assistance and home repairs ($121 million), water affordability ($36.2 million) and energy assistance ($238 million), fed transportation funding, etc.
This budget is a big win for Lansing. I worked hard to ensure this year’s budget included funding for important projects and services right here in our backyard. I will always stand up for the people of mid-Michigan and fight for our shared priorities and needs. Our community is strong, and I am confident this funding will go a long way toward ensuring our neighborhoods are safe and thriving.
- $108.1 million that makes 105,000 more children eligible for child care. Increases income eligibility to 185% of the federal poverty level through fiscal year 2023 and increases to 160% ongoing in the following fiscal years.
- $13 million to waive parent copays for child care through fiscal year 2022.
- $158 million for an ongoing 30% rate increase for childcare providers, with an additional $222 million for a temporary rate increase.
- $117.4 million to pay for enrollment in child care through fiscal year 2023.
- $36.5 million over 3 years to expand child care for infants and toddlers.
- $700.7 million for stabilization grants and another $100 million for startup grants for child care providers, including technical assistance and facility improvements.
- $30 million for a one-time $1,000 bonus for child care staff.
- $100 million for community revitalization and placemaking grants to support economic development in local communities.
I have been a champion for working parents since I took office in November 2018. I’ve fought for the creation of a child care tax credit for the last two legislative sessions. I am glad to see historic levels of funding for child care reflected in this year’s budget.
Accessible, affordable child care is a key component to unlocking economic prosperity for so many Michiganders. This budget will help lift families into the middle class and allow more women to participate fully in the workforce, leading to an even more thriving economy in our state.
Workforce Development and Higher Education
- 5% higher university and community college operations payments across the board.
- $55 million for the Reconnect program to provide a tuition-free pathway to an in-demand industry certificate or associate degree for Michigan adults age 25 and older to help Michiganders get the skills they need to compete for a good-paying, in-demand job.
- $25 million for the Futures for Frontliners scholarship program, which pays for frontline workers to attend local community college tuition-free.
- $40 million for the Going Pro program to expand employer-based training grants that result in industry-recognized credentials and certificates to help raise wages for workers and help employers fill job openings.
- $6 million for wraparound supports for Reconnect or Futures for Frontliners to remove barriers to degree completion.
- $8 million for pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship training programs that will expand Michigan’s talent pool in construction and building trades.
- $1 million for Focus: HOPE to support workforce development, youth development and community empowerment and advocacy programs.
Whether it’s empowering adults seeking to reenter the workforce or removing financial barriers to college, our state is strongest when everyone can pursue their educational and professional goals.
Last year, I worked hard to pass the Reconnect program into law, protect funding for Going Pro and increase funding for higher education institutions. The budget brings us one step closer to reaching our statewide goal of 60% college attainment by 2030 and ensuring employers have the skills and talent they need.
- $196 million for local bridge bundling to repair or replace nearly 100 crumbling bridges in serious and critical condition.
- $14.3 million to help local governments prepare for climate change and extreme weather, including flooding and coastal erosion.
- $19 million for dam repairs and replacements to mitigate flooding and hazards caused by dam malfunction.
- $3 million for the Michigan Infrastructure Council.
My team and I knocked on close to 3,000 doors over the summer, and Lansing residents consistently told us that fixing our crumbling roads and infrastructure was one of their biggest concerns. By investing in our infrastructure now, we can ensure the long-term health and sustainability of our state and residents.
- $460 million to give a permanent $2.35/hour raise to direct care workers who take care of our most vulnerable in nursing homes and beyond.
- $7.4 million to expand the Infant Home Visiting program for evidence-based home visiting services to at-risk families with infants born with substance exposure.
- $19.1 million for the MiChoice program expansion to provide alternatives to nursing home care and allow seniors to stay in their homes (increase of 1,000 slots).
- $6.7 million for the Sickle Cell Disease Initiative to cover the cost of treatment to around 400 adults and increase outreach and clinical capacity to support the estimated 4,000 Michigan residents living with sickle cell disease, which disproportionately affects Black people.
- $8.4 million to reduce health disparities and expand the use of community-based navigators to enhance access to health coverage, and improve screening, data sharing and interoperability of existing data systems through the Michigan Health Information Network.
- $5 million for a pilot program to bring down utility bills for families by improving home weatherization and energy efficiency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that we owe our direct care workers and first responders a great deal. Permanently raising wages for these hardworking individuals is one small way we can show our appreciation.
In addition, the pandemic has only exasperated existing shortfalls in our health care system. The budget includes funding to bolster services in nursing homes and reduce health disparities in communities of color. We must continue to knock down barriers to affordable, accessible health care whenever we can so we are prepared for the next public health crisis.
Clean Water and Natural Resources
- $10 million to continue the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor to provide access to safe drinking water.
- $15 million for the Emergency Drinking Water Fund to help the state address drinking water emergencies.
- $14 million to address PFAS and another $22 million to clean up contaminated sites across the state.
- $25 million to clean up the Western Lake Erie Basin by reducing phosphorus levels.
- $10 million for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to help eliminate lead poisoning in homes by injecting private capital into lead remediation efforts.
- $5 million for the State Facility Green Revolving Fund, which is a catalyst for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at state facilities and helps reduce the state’s carbon footprint and save taxpayer dollars.
Michiganders deserve to breathe clean air and drink clean water — it’s as simple as that. Investing in our state’s natural resources is a direct investment in the health and well-being of future generations.
- $7.3 million in increased funding to hire and train new corrections officers for the state’s prison system, and more than $800,000 in new funding for wellness initiatives for corrections employees.
- Department of State Police investments include $3.8 million to expand the use of body cameras, $4.5 million for a professional development and training effort, $7.7 million for a trooper recruit school, $2.5 million for breathalyzer test replacements, and a $2 million increase in secondary road patrol grants.
- The budget also provides $16 million for 911 system upgrades and $5 million to support local efforts to expand recruitment, improve training and provide additional professional development to first responders.
- Funding is also provided to improve and enhance technology systems across state government, with $17.5 million in increased funding for the state’s information technology investment fund. Another $20 million will go toward protecting state information technology systems from advanced persistent cyber threats to help ensure data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
First responders in Michigan are stretched too thin. We need to come up with creative ways to support law enforcement so they can allocate their time and resources to curbing violent crimes and responding when people call for help. The budget provides a smart allocation of resources to ensure our communities are strong and our streets are safe.