LANSING, Mich., June 29, 2023 — The Michigan House of Representatives passed the state’s fiscal 2023-24 budget yesterday. This is the first budget in 40 years crafted by a Democratic trifecta — it reflects Michigan’s values by making the largest investment in education in the state’s history, including free breakfast and lunch for every public school student and affordable pre-K, as well as substantial investments in workforce recruitment and retention, water infrastructure, and public safety. The legislators worked in a bipartisan fashion to deliver a timely, responsible budget that ensures federal funding stays in Michigan instead of being sent back to Washington, D.C. 


“I am very thankful for this budget that delivers transformational change for the people of Michigan. My first and foremost priority is to listen to what residents need and bring solutions home. That’s why I’m especially grateful to have helped bring these wins to Calhoun County,” said state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek). “There are substantial allocations for kids who have aged out of foster care, skills training and tutoring, improving schools for our kids, and strengthening our infrastructure — including the roads. This budget reflects a bright future, and an even brighter Michigan — this truly is the best place to call home.”


The budget includes $300,000 to Starr Commonwealth in Albion for the YouthBuild program to create a youth career development initiative. 


“We are deeply grateful to Representative Jim Haadsma for his leadership and to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for their belief in our mission and their investment in the future of youth in and around Calhoun County,” Starr Commonwealth President and CEO Elizabeth Carey said. “This funding will enable us to further expand our efforts in empowering Michigan’s young individuals who face significant barriers to success, providing them with life-changing opportunities and pathways to a brighter future. These supports will include county-wide partnerships with educators and employers and include intensive, wraparound supports such as drug- and alcohol-free housing, mental and behavioral health services, life coaching, and leadership development. We are excited to launch this partnership for our youth and our community.”


There is also a $500,000 grant allocation for the Bohm Theatre. The funds will help relieve the Friends of the Bohm Theatre in Albion, allowing them to operate at a profit to be used for more community programming.


“Thanks to this incredible enhancement grant, the Bohm Theatre will be able to retire the entirety of its capital debt enabling the theatre to finally operate at a revenue gain,” said Shane Williamson, executive director of the Albion Community Foundation and Bohm Theatre. “This will allow the theatre to hire more staff, put more local people to work, provide more innovative programming to our community, and, most importantly, keep the Bohm Theatre accessible for all in the greater Albion and Calhoun County area. Myself and the entire board of trustees for the Bohm Theatre and the Albion Community Foundation thank Representative Haadsma for championing this enhancement grant and keeping the Bohm Theatre alive for generations to come.” 


The budget also allocates $750,000 to the Burma Center in Springfield to supplement funding for HVAC, roof, parking lots, ADA compliance and building security.


“All of us at the Burma Center and our tenants in the Gathering Place work everyday to positively affect the lives of so many,” said Tha Par, Executive Director, Burma Center. “The Gathering Place is a valuable asset for individuals, families, and groups in the Battle Creek and Springfield areas to come together in community. With these funds, the Burma Center will be able to make important improvements to our building’s infrastructure and continue providing essential services, programming, and events. We are truly grateful for this investment, which we see as a testament of the state’s meaningful recognition of the value that our organization is offering to the community.” 


The city of Battle Creek is receiving $1.7 million for renovations to bring the Kingman Museum building at Leila Arboretum back into use as a childrens’ museum.


“The city of Battle Creek is extremely grateful for support to restore the Kingman Building, the long-term home of Kingman Museum and its world-class collection,” Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca L. Fleury said. “The building has tremendous historical significance to the community and has provided countless generations of children and adults with unparalleled learning experiences. We appreciate the opportunity to preserve this historic site and thank our partners at state for their commitment and support.”


Battle Creek Unlimited received $7 million for the construction of the Battle Creek drone park, an aerial commercial drone park, at the Battle Creek Airport.


“BCU congratulates Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature on the passage of the fiscal 2024 state budget, which includes $7 million for the development of an advanced air mobility park at the Battle Creek Executive Airport,” said Joe Sobieralski, president & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited. “We are especially grateful to Rep. Jim Haadsma for his leadership and championing the effort in the legislature to secure these funds. This effort began in 2018 when the Michigan Defense Center awarded BCU a grant to conduct a feasibility study on the drone sector. The advanced air mobility sector, including remotely piloted and autonomous vehicles, is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. This strategic investment is a pivotal first step in bringing a new, cutting-edge industry to Battle Creek and Michigan.