Plan addresses agriculture, skills gap, infrastructure
State Rep. Sarah Lightner, of Springport, on Tuesday voted in favor of a supplemental budget plan to restore support for the state’s Department of Agriculture, promote job growth across Michigan, invest in infrastructure projects and provide funding to many essential programs and services around mid-Michigan.
“These budget restorations are a big step in a positive direction of collaboration between the Legislature and executive office,” Lightner said. “We couldn’t let these services wait another year until they see funding from the state.”
The measures partially restore funding the governor had previously vetoed. Beginning October 1, many important programs saw reductions or total cuts. This plan restores funding to a wide range of services, including the Going PRO program, which provides competitive grants for employers looking for talent in the skilled trades, Centers for Independent Living, assistance for survivors of human trafficking, and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Buddy-to-Buddy program.
“I’ve never wavered on my commitment to improving the lives of our most vulnerable residents,” said Lightner. “This plan helps further that goal.”
Lightner also said she is pleased to see a $1 million re-investment in grants to county fairs through money directed by MDARD, which focuses on improving general infrastructure and supporting our fairs, shows and exhibitions.
The budget plan also provides several infrastructure grants to local government projects, allowing those localities to invest the dollars that they have in additional pressing issues they are facing. Henrietta Township in Jackson County received a $200,000 grant for the new fire truck they needed to purchase.
“I’m so glad to hear that we were able to re-invest unexpended funds into our local communities,” Lightner said. “Henrietta Township did their due diligence with saving up for this equipment upgrade, and we were able to help them finish the project. Now they can spend that money on local roads and services instead of paying off loan interest down the road.”
Senate Bills 151 and 373 were approved by the House with bipartisan support.