Provides retirement debt relief and flood recovery for Western U.P.
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday finalized a bipartisan fiscal year 2021 budget that is balanced, on time, and increases investments to important priorities like job training, K-12 education, and public safety without raising taxes.
Highlights of the budget for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula include funding to cover a shortfall in retirement funding for the Michigan Works! UPward Talent Agency and flooding disaster relief matching funds. Previous funding, which had been set aside for these issues, was vetoed twice by the governor because of COVID-19 and a disagreement on the administration’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 45 cents, according to Sen. Ed McBroom and Rep. Greg Markkanen.
“The state has faced significant ups and downs with the budget throughout the past year,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “Despite the challenges, we were able to come together with bipartisan support to approve a balanced budget that is on time and that offers support for issues that are critically important to communities across the Upper Peninsula.”
In the legislation, Houghton and Baraga counties will receive $4 million in matching funds to help the region recover from the Father’s Day 2018 flooding that damaged hundreds of miles of roads and bridges. The state funding is necessary to receive vital federal matching funds.
Funding was restored from the previous veto in the amount of $1.1 million to help cover a shortfall in retirement funding for the Michigan Works! UPward Talent Agency. The agency, which provides services and support to the U.P.’s workforce development system, previously lost its pension funding.
“The matching funds for the Father’s Day flood and the retirement legacy costs were regularly brought to my attention as needing to be addressed by the state,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “I appreciate the work of local officials to advocate for these dollars and the support of my colleagues. I am hopeful the funding will finally make its way to the local communities.”
House Bill 5396 is a general omnibus budget that protects local revenue sharing and includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, as well as $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength.
To help kickstart Michigan’s economy, the FY21 budget also 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.
“Michigan was faced with an unprecedented budget shortfall because of the response to the coronavirus,” McBroom said. “Just like our hardworking U.P. families have had to make some tough decisions, the Legislature strived to survey needs and provide funding for shared priorities, including education, public safety and economic growth.”
Senate Bill 927 is an education omnibus budget featuring a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the FY 2020 budget. It also includes an additional $66 million for growing schools, $37 million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.
The budget also invests $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, deposits $35 million in the state’s rainy day fund, and fully funds the 2015 plan to continue increasing aid to repair the state’s roads.
The budget bills now head to the governor for signature.
Michigan’s 2021 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.