LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her fourth executive budget recommendation Wednesday.
The budget recommendation focuses on a few key points including education, economic investments that support Michigan's workforce, rebuilding roads, bridges, and pipes across the state and health improvements for Michiganders.
The budget recommendation totals $74.1 billion, including a general fund total of $14.3 billion and a school aid budget totaling $18.4 billion. A significant amount has also been provided for one-time funding projects as well.
The recommendation provides for a school aid budget which will be the biggest state education funding increase in more than 20 years, without raising taxes, according to Gov. Whitmer's office.
Some of the major funding for education will go toward per-pupil funding, which would increase 5%, providing an extra $435 per student. In addition, Gov. Whitmer's recommendation allocates $361 million for student mental health to ensure students with mental health needs can be identified and provided with the right support.
Also included in the education portion of the budget are several investments into underserved communities. Whitmer's proposal allocated $222 million to fully fund supports for economically disadvantaged students, $72.6 million for pre-K education programs and $50 million for before and after school programs.
Whitmer's 2023 budget recommendation also puts emphasis on funding centered on economic and workforce development. That will include a $500 million deposit into the Strategic Outreach and Reserve Fund to provide funding for economic development projects that invest in Michigan’s future and attract transformational projects that keep Michigan at the forefront of manufacturing.
Another $500 million has also been dedicated to provide hero pay for frontline workers in support and recognition of their sacrifice during the pandemic.
"While many people were able to stay home, grocery store workers showed up every day from the beginning of this pandemic to make sure Michigan families had the food and supplies they needed," said John Cakmacki, president of UFCW Local 951. "Our members have paid out of pocket for child care and protective gear, and they have lost sick time and in some cases their health and even their lives. They deserve to be acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts, and we thank Governor Whitmer for doing so."
Beyond providing support for frontline workers, Whitmer's budget recommendation also calls for funding to improve public health.
The budget allocates $8.3 million to provide ongoing increase for family independence payments, $100 per month per child ages five and under to assist low-income families with the unique costs of caring for very young children. In addition, the recommendation would also dedicate $20 million to address racial health disparities.
One of Whitmer's long-term goals for the state of Michigan has always been the emphasis on improving the states infrastructure. In the 2023 budget recommendation $578 million in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) would provide resources for several Michigan infrastructure projects that will continue to fix roads, bridges, railways, and local and intercity transit, while also providing capital improvements at airports.
Another $150 million would support projects that are economically critical, carry high traffic volumes, increase the useful life of key local roads, or will be completed in conjunction with bridge replacement projects.
Finally, the budget recommendation calls for funding centered on safe communities, including $50 million for first responder retention. That money will provide payments to law enforcement officers and public safety personnel, including state troopers, conservation officers, firefighters, EMTS, and local and state corrections employees who have performed hazardous work related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Whitmer is proposing $1 million for state police trooper recruitment to help broaden the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of the Michigan State Police to make it more representative of the communities it serves.
“Just two weeks ago, I delivered my State of the State address, where I outlined the bipartisan accomplishments of the past three years and shared my vision for the future. I laid out plans to cut taxes for seniors and working families by rolling back Michigan’s retirement tax, giving more than 500,000 households an average of $1,000 a year, and raising the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, putting an average combined refund of $3,000 back in the pockets of 730,000 working families,” said Gov. Whitmer. “The budget I put forward today delivers on those tax cuts and makes strong investments in the kitchen-table issues that make a real difference in people’s lives.”
The budget recommendation also proposes a $51.8 million deposit to the Budget Stabilization Fund, which would bring the rainy day fund balance to nearly $1.5 billion.
If approved, the Republican-controlled Legislature and Whitmer will iron out the budget in the coming months, though Republicans have said they favor broader tax relief.
Copies and more details of the governor’s recommended budget are available at www.michigan.gov/budget.
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