On Feb. 5, Chris Kolb, the State Budget Director, gave a presentation on the budget priorities the governor would like the Legislature to pursue during this upcoming legislative year. The presentation was extensive and proposed funding for many programs that I believe are important to the Ypsilanti Community, which I’ve highlighted in the paragraphs below. For more information, I have included some links to the State Budget Office with helpful slideshows and infographics.
In her budget, Gov. Whitmer has prioritized funding for our public schools, providing the largest funding increase for classroom operations in 20 years to continue moving Michigan towards a weighted formula based on science and equity — ensuring our students and educators have the resources they need to be successful. This weighted method of K-12 education funding gives a $225 per pupil increase to the school districts which have the lowest levels of state funding, and $150 increase per pupil to the districts with the highest level of state funding. This would reduce the gap between the highest and lowest funded districts to $343 per pupil; the lowest in the past 25 years. Her budget also includes funding to reimburse teachers for out-of-pocket supply costs, because many teachers currently spend their own hard-earned money to buy supplies for their classrooms.
Another important aspect of Gov. Whitmer’s budget priorities is $37.5 million for Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative to reduce infant mortality rates and racial disparities in birth outcomes through expanded maternal and reproductive health services and home visiting programs. Expanding comprehensive health coverage for expecting and new mothers improves maternal and family health and well‐being. While the Healthy Michigan Plan has helped lower the rate of uninsured new mothers from 14.3 percent to 4.7 percent, a critical gap remains. Medicaid eligibility is limited to 60 days for mothers who fall within 139 percent and 195 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) ($30,190 to $42,354 for a family of three).
With 12% of pregnancy‐related deaths occurring between 43 days and 1 year after delivery, filling this coverage gap can improve Michigan’s maternal health outcomes. Expanding maternal health coverage has been linked to reduced infant mortality rates, particularly among African American infants. Currently, Michigan’s African American infant mortality rate is more than double the state average for the population as a whole.
These are just a few aspects of the budget priorities that Gov. Whitmer would like the Legislature to pursue this coming legislative year. As a legislator, I am in favor of a budget that is more environmentally friendly, prioritizes education and children, and ensures that everyone in Michigan can have the resources they need for healthy postpartum care. If you have any questions you may call my office at (517) 373-1771 or email me at RonniePeterson@house.mi.gov.