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Rep. Lightner: State budget focuses on priorities shared by Michigan families
RELEASE|September 22, 2021

State Rep. Sarah Lightner and the Michigan House today approved a new state budget plan that will help Michigan families, workers and job providers continue to recover from the pandemic while taking steps to put the state on stronger financial footing for the future.

Lightner, of Springport, said the new budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 received overwhelming bipartisan support because it offers stability for families, workers and job providers as the state gets back to normal.

“After everything we’ve been through in the last year and a half, we’re all ready to get back to normal,” Lightner said. “This new state budget will help aid our recovery by providing much-needed investments to fix local roads, provide workforce training and make child care more affordable so people can get back to work.”

Lightner, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and oversees the judiciary budget, said problem-solving courts will receive an additional $600,000 – $400,000 for drug-treatment courts, $100,000 for mental health courts, and $100,000 for veterans treatment courts.

“Specialty courts like these continue to prove beneficial to our communities by getting people the help they need and significantly reducing the number of people who reoffend,” Lightner said.

Other highlights of the budget include:

  • Rebuilding local roads: The Department of Transportation budget, mostly road funding, tops $5.2 billion. The plan shifts MDOT’s $195 million share of federal COVID relief transportation funds to local governments to repair local bridges – a far more effective and responsible method than the governor’s recent decisions to add to road-related debt.
  • Helping Michigan workers: The new state budget plan invests heavily in workforce development, bringing the total investment to roughly $100 million. The funds will go to existing programs such as Going PRO, internship and apprentice programs.
  • Supporting job providers: The Unemployment Insurance Agency trust fund took a major hit during the pandemic, so the new budget invests $150 million to offset losses to fraudulent claims allowed by the administration. This investment helps keep the UIA system stable and ensures job providers aren’t asked to pay more into the system.
  • Supporting families: Lack of affordable childcare was one of the state’s biggest workplace issues before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an even bigger issue now as parents head back to the workplace after shutdowns. Efforts to make childcare more affordable and accessible are supported with $1.4 billion in federal COVID relief funds. This will provide grants, increase the income eligibility threshold, and temporarily boost provider reimbursement rates. 
  • Preventing government overreach: Language in the budget plan requires enhanced reporting requirements for emergency orders issued by the administration. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be required to develop reports related to emergency orders involving an epidemic issued during that fiscal year, and the report must include an explanation of the scope of the epidemic and a description of each area of the state that is determined to be threatened by the epidemic. The budget also includes language that would leave decisions on whether masks should be worn in schools to local school boards and parents – not the state or unelected bureaucrats.

The budget will now soon advance to the governor for her expected signature.

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