Rep. Eric Leutheuser today voted for legislation ending a two-month budget standoff and restoring support for essential resources serving the people of Hillsdale and Branch counties.
The plan approved by Leutheuser and the Legislature reverse many of the vetoes enacted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer when she signed the budget for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. Funding to protect access to health care and enhance public safety is included in the legislation approved today and headed to Whitmer, who is expected to sign the measures as part of a bipartisan agreement.
“The governor’s budget cuts disproportionately hurt rural counties like ours, and that simply could not stand,” said Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “I started working immediately to make things right, and I’m glad a resolution is on the way. The measures headed back to the governor’s desk will protect our rural hospitals, support our sheriff patrols, and enhance other key services many southern Michigan residents depend on every day.”
The plan approved today restores $7.9 million statewide for rural hospitals providing obstetrician services, including Hillsdale Hospital. Leutheuser spoke to hospital officials about the importance of restoring the funding so they can keep serving our community.
The budget restoration measures will provide $16.6 million for those rural hospitals serving a high proportion of Medicaid and low-income patients, $10.7 million to improve pediatric psychiatric services, roughly $1.5 million to help children with autism, and about $2 million statewide to fight opioid drug abuse.
The measures headed to Whitmer also reverse her $13 million in cuts to the program allowing sheriffs to hire patrols for secondary roads, which last year amounted to more than $140,000 for Hillsdale and Branch counties combined.
“This is funding we absolutely need to keep patrols on our country roads,” said Leutheuser, who has worked to restore the investments ever since legislation was introduced to do so in early October.
The budget plan also restores funding for school safety grants, dropout recovery programs and literacy programs. The Michigan Tuition Grant program, which helps nearly 17,000 college students statewide, will be funded.
Support for military veterans, seniors, public school academies and many others also will be restored.
Michigan is constitutionally required to have a balanced budget. Leutheuser said any leftover funds are reserved and could be used for future needs.