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Rep Sarah Lightner
Rep. Lightner: Michigan budget protects students and families despite challenges of COVID-19
RELEASE|September 24, 2020

Rep. Sarah Lightner – a member of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee – helped lead the Legislature’s approval of a new state budget overcoming the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.

The plan is headed to the governor for consideration after winning broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate this week.

The budget plan protects funding for K-12 schools, local communities and other shared top priorities of Michiganders – despite the impact COVID-19 and economic shutdowns have had on the state economy.

“This has undoubtedly been a challenging budget cycle due to the harsh realities COVID-19 has presented,” said Lightner, of Springport. “The Legislature collaborated and came together in a bipartisan way to ensure our plan protects funding for students and local public services while also protecting taxpayers. Responsible budgeting now will protect Michigan down the road, and this process has only proven that a government functioning in sync is the best form of government.”

Lightner noted the plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 once again was approved without tax increases. The budget does not grow state government, returning about $35 million to the state’s budget stabilization fund and leaving nearly $50 million available on the balance sheet for the next fiscal year.

The per-student foundation allowance for K-12 schools remains unchanged, but schools will receive an additional one-time payment equal to roughly $65 per student, along with other changes to increase the commitment to Michigan’s school aid fund.

The budget plan also fully protects revenue sharing payments made to cities, townships and counties — helping fund the essential local services residents across Michigan rely on every day.

Other highlights for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 include:

·       Public safety: Additional Michigan State Police troopers will be trained, and local-level road patrols are supported.

·       Public health: The Legislature’s efforts to fight COVID-19 continue, including $20 million to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) in skilled nursing facilities. The budget also includes resources supporting mental health, children with autism, and cleanup of PFAS and other pollution threatening drinking water.

The budget plan – contained in House Bill 5396 and Senate Bill 927 – advances to the governor for her consideration.

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