MacGregor: Senate approves state’s new budget

‘On time, balanced, and invests in our shared priorities’

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Wednesday approved a balanced budget for the state’s next fiscal year, prioritizing funding for current and future needs and priorities while making smart reductions in government spending without increasing taxes.

The fiscal year 2021 budget, passed with bipartisan support, increases state funding for K-12 education, protects support for local governments for first responders, paramedics, police and fire; supports elder care facilities to ensure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect vulnerable seniors from the coronavirus; and significantly invests in programs to help workers and job providers affected by COVID-19.

“The state’s response to the coronavirus has made an unprecedented impact on our families, the economy and on the state’s budget,” said Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, who chairs the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. “Despite the record loss in funding because of the shutdown, lawmakers were able to come together in strong bipartisan fashion to approve a new budget that is on time, balanced, and that invests in our shared priorities, programs and services, and emergent needs — all without raising taxes for hardworking Michiganders.”

Highlights of the FY21 budget include a $65 per pupil increase to K-12 schools, a $66 million investment to support growing schools, $37 million to support students’ mental health, and an additional $3 million for early childhood literacy initiatives. State revenue sharing to local governments is maintained to help keep communities safe, including funding for local police and fire departments, and paramedics and first responders. The budget also includes funding for 50 new State Police Troopers, and $20 million for COVID-19 related expenses to nursing homes.

Additional Kent County investments, led by MacGregor, included funds for Kids Food Basket, Spectrum Health’s Strong Beginnings healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes program, and the Children’s Hospital program for critically ill infants.

“The economic toll on Michigan workers has been devastating, leaving workers without a job through no fault of their own,” said MacGregor. “That’s why we fought to invest millions in job training programs and education assistance to help people learn new skills and get back to work.”

To help kickstart Michigan’s economic recovery, the FY21 budget includes:

  • $26 million for the Going Pro program to support businesses, community colleges and other organizations to help train employees.
  • $30 million for Michigan Reconnect, which provides financial assistance for people to complete an associate degree or skills certificate.
  • $1.5 million for Graduation Alliance to help adults obtain high school diplomas and placement in career training programs.
  • $3.75 million for the Jobs for Michigan Graduates Program, which equips young adults with skills to overcome barriers and prevent school dropouts.

“Thankfully, because of the smart budgeting decisions that were made over the past decade, Michigan is in a much better position than many states, lessening COVID-19’s impact on this year’s budget,” MacGregor said. “This is not a perfect budget. It does not accomplish everything we would like to accomplish but, given the circumstances, it is a good compromise that I am glad Republicans and Democrats were able to come together to support during what is a critical time in our state’s history.”

Senate Bill 927, the education omnibus budget, and House Bill 5396, the general omnibus budget, were also approved by the House of Representatives and now go to the governor for her signature.  

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.