LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved the $70 billion state budget for the coming year on Wednesday but struck down language that would have prevented the administration and local health departments from implementing mask mandates for school age children, saying the language is unconstitutional.
“This budget really is a testament of what we’re capable of when we put the needs of the people of our state first and foremost.. It was overwhelmingly bipartisan," Whitmer said on Wednesday.
The budget includes funding for higher education, expanded childcare and infrastructure improvements across the state. It will go into effect on Friday.
“You would think in these moments that we can’t find common ground on anything and yet we were able to on the priorities that are in this budget on the kitchen table issues that Michigan families, Michigan businesses are confronting every day," she said. "This budget shows that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional government.”
Education funding was front and center, back in July Whitmer approved $17.1 billion for the state's K-12 system.
"This budget provides direct support that will change lives and support our communities," said Lansing Community College President Steve Robinson. LCC hosted the signing ceremony on Wednesday.
The budget is one of the largest investments in education in the state's history.
"Today shows just how much progress our administration has made and it also continues to remind us that our work will only continue," Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said.
The budget also prioritizes support for childcare including about $1.4 billion to expand childcare air to about 100,000 Michigan children.
"This budget expands low and no cost childcare for 105,000 more Michigan kids," Whitmer said.
Additionally there is well over $200 million for infrastructure projects across the state to address everything from bridge repair to preparations for extreme weather.
"Every Michigander deserves to drive on safe, smooth roads and bridges as they go to work or take their kids to school," she said.
Whitmer also vetoed a total of seven line items in the budget, all of which had to do with anti-abortion measures.
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