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Legislature approves record-high $82B 'Make it in Michigan' state budget

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Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-29 13:35:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — Both the Michigan House and Senate approved the proposed state budget for Fiscal Year 2024 Wednesday night.

The bipartisan budget aims to grow the economy, lower costs, deliver on kitchen-table issues and help anyone “Make it in Michigan.”

The FY24 budget totals $81.7 billion— the largest in state history.

It includes a general fund total of $15.2 billion and a School Aid Fund total of $19.4 billion.

“The Make it in Michigan budget will build a bright future for our state,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “It lowers costs on healthcare, preschool, meals for kids, higher education, housing and workforce training. It will help us keep fixing the damn bridges, replacing lead pipes and protecting public safety. And it will power ‘Make it in Michigan,’ our comprehensive vision for economic development so we can win more projects, invest in people and revitalize places. I am so grateful to the new leadership in the legislature for getting this done. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator.”

Republican opposers of the budget argue that it’s reckless.

State Representative Pauline Wendzel (R-39th House District) called it a “spending spree.”

“Despite foggy forecasts at the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC), Democrats decided to spend $80 billion in this budget on ridiculous things like electric school buses, 1,000 new full-time bureaucrats to harass small businesses and farmers, swimming pools, a poet laureate and the creation of new, long-term government programs that will cost Michigan families more in the long run. After this one-time federal funding has gone away, how will the state make up revenue to keep the current spending levels? – permanent tax increases on hardworking Michigan families,” Rep. Wendzel added.

However, some Republican lawmakers supported enough of the budget to vote "yes," including Senator Mark Huizenga (R-30th Senate District).

"Providing an effective education is critical to the future of our children, our state and the entire country," Sen. Huizenga said. "While not perfect, this education budget builds on the record-high support for schools we passed last year, pays down retirement debt and supports all types of learning— because education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor."

FY2024 budget breakdown:

K-12 education investments include:

  • $611 million to boost per-pupil funding by five percent — adds $458 per student, totaling $9,608 per student
  • $450 million deposit into a new rainy day fund for schools
  • $370 million to support teachers, including continued support for the MI Future Educator Fellowship
  • $328 million for mental health and school safety
  • $160 million to provide free breakfast and lunch for all 1.4 million public school students, regardless of family income
  • $125 million to fund matching grants for districts switching current bus fleets to electric vehicles
  • $25 million supporting new match intervention programs
  • $13.3 million for English language learners — a 50 percent increase

"I've spoken to many superintendents across the state and there is a resounding appreciation for the education funding in this year's state budget," Dr. Tina Kerr, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA) executive director, said. "These dollars are critical to helping our districts address student and staff mental health, increase school safety measures and provide specialized learning opportunities. It is essential that public education be funded at this level both now and in the future so that our schools can continue to prepare our students for their own success and for Michigan's future."
Higher education and workforce investments include:

  • $112 million in Infrastructure, Technology, Equipment Maintenance and Safety (ITEMS) funding — helps community colleges and universities improve existing facilities, infrastructure, technology and campus security
  • $70 million to lower the eligibility age for Reconnect temporarily — makes a tuition-free associate degree or skills training available to 350,000 more Michiganders
  • $50 million boost for Michigan Achievement Scholarship — brings the FY24 total investments to $300 million
  • $37.8 million to improve retention and completion rates

Public health investments include:

  • $140 million to boost wages for direct care workers and other staff assisting with home-based care and nursing home services
  • $156.8 million to increase reimbursement rates for Medicaid services
  • $49.5 million to implement Racial Disparities Task Force recommendations
  • $56.4 million to fund Healthy Moms, Health Babies
  • $25 million for local health departments

Public safety investments include:

  • $171.5 million in public safety grants
  • $34.2 million to implement Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform recommendations
  • $30 million for cameras on Detroit freeways
  • $18.2 million to provide in-service training to licensed law enforcement officials
  • $14.4 million to boost safety and accountability in correctional facilities — includes $7 million for body cameras
  • $9 million to run a Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School
  • $5 million to expand national guard tuition assistance programs
  • $2.9 million to implement gun violence prevention policies
  • $1.2 million for veteran suicide prevention efforts
  • $500,000 for PACT Act VA claims assistance

"This budget agreement provides significant resources to support law enforcement and safer communities," Rob Figurski, president of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations, said. "Frontline officers need support for the many challenges they face every day. This budget is a positive step."
Roads, bridges, transit, electrification investments include:

  • $416 million to "fix the damn roads"
  • $80 million investment toward Michigan's Bridge Bundling program
  • $21.3 million for clean energy and electric vehicle infrastructure
  • $1 million to start the state's fleet to electric vehicles
  • $17.8 million for the Information Technology and Investment Fund
  • $5 million for a critical mineral recycle research hub

Housing investments include:

  • $212 million for residential energy efficiency improvements
  • $50 million for the Housing and Community Development Program — helps alleviate affordable housing needs

Water, parks, agriculture, environment investments include:

  • Nearly $600 million for Michigan's water infrastructure
  • $150 million to reopen the Palisades nuclear power plant
  • $23 million to improve Belle Isle State Park
  • $23 million to create an endowment for the new Flint State Park
  • $20 million to establish an environmental justice contaminated site clean-up fund
  • $13 million for agricultural climate resiliency and soil health
  • $7.7 million in state parks operations funding

Economic development investments include:

  • $500 million annual deposit in the Make it in Michigan Fund
  • $350 million for the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund
  • $15 million for talent action teams to fast-track assistance to businesses looking to expand in or relocate to Michigan
  • $10 million to promote Michigan as a destination for special events or national conventions
  • $5 million for the Michigan Defense Center

The budget also deposits $200 million into the Budget Stabilization Fund, or "rainy day fund," which will bring the total to nearly $2 billion by the end of FY24.
Additionally, it boosts funding for the Department of Attorney General by $24.5 million, to which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the following:

"This budget demonstrates that Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the House of Representatives and Senate recognize the great work our department is doing and all we've accomplished for the state over the last four years with limited and hard-fought resources."

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