Whiteford supports state budget with greater support for mental health care

Categories: Whiteford News

Legislature-approved budget moves to governor’s desk

Mary Whiteford, of Casco Township, today voted in favor of a new Michigan state budget investing more in roads and bridges, public health and safety and more – without raising taxes.

Whiteford’s votes came as the Legislature completed its work on the state budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Whiteford and the Legislature last week approved record-high investment in Michigan students as part of the same overall budget.

“I support this budget because it reflects the needs of Allegan County families,” Whiteford said. “It’s my job to stand up for local residents to make our communities stronger. It was my goal to do that without asking for more money from taxpayers, and that’s what we’ve done. It’s a good plan and the governor should sign it to prevent a government shutdown.”

Whiteford pushed for state funding for the Allegan County Legal Assistance Center, a legal service for families in poverty engaged in civil matters.

As chair of the House Health and Human Services budget subcommittee, Whiteford advocated for a statewide mental health hotline providing services to anyone and everyone in need. She introduced the measure last term and said she is pleased to see it be supported by a $2 million commitment in this budget. She also ensured the budget included a comprehensive service to ensure foster children receive counseling for trauma that may have occurred.

The Legislature’s budget also places a priority on:

  • Public health. Another $120 million is dedicated to protect drinking water against PFAS, lead and other contaminants. Funding to prevent opioid abuse and provide substance abuse treatment increases by more than $30 million. Whiteford also advocated for 100 percent Medicaid reimbursement for child behavioral health care providers to ensure children get the mental health care they need.
  • Public safety. Eighty-six new Michigan State Police troopers will be trained. Statutory revenue sharing increases by 2.3 percent to help local governments maintain essential public services including police and fire departments.
  • Economic growth. Investments continue and increase in programs such as Going Pro to train more workers for good-paying, high demand careers so they can support themselves and their families – continuing Michigan’s economic comeback. This builds upon the previously approved schools budget providing significant increases in career and technical education. The new budget also makes a $4 million investment in the Food & Agriculture Investment Grant program supporting innovation and job creation.
  • Roads. Another $400 million is invested in road and bridge repairs, continuing the Legislature’s commitment to improving roads without tax increases or cuts to essential services. Michigan’s Department of Transportation budget will top $5 billion and provide more money for road repairs than ever before.

The education budget approved last week includes a record $15.2 billion for Michigan students, increasing the foundation allowance by more than $300 million — up to $240 more per student. Additional support is provided for special education, early literacy, school safety and several other programs.

The budget will now be sent to the governor for her consideration to be signed into law.