State Rep. Pat Outman 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.
Outman, of Six Lakes, emphasized the need to offer stability for families, workers and job providers as the state gets back to normal.
“There’s been so much instability over the past year and a half,” Outman said. “What people in our community need more than ever is certainty and peace of mind – and this budget provides that by continuing to make smart investments in shared priorities and offering one-time boosts in areas to help get us back on track.”
Michigan’s budget stabilization fund dipped below $1 billion during the pandemic. The spending plan for the new state budget year that begins on Oct. 1 includes a largest-ever $500 million deposit to replenish it.
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.
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/apprentice programs and new programming such as additional funding for non-union workforce programs.
“The skills gap was a challenge before the pandemic, and it’s even more of a challenge now,” Outman said. “These programs are badly needed to help local job providers find talented workers and help people learn new skills to open doors for success.”
Other highlights of the budget include:
- Support for communities and local infrastructure: 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. More money is allocated for dam safety and water pollution cleanup. Local communities will receive a 2-percent increase in revenue sharing to help provide essential services to residents.
- Keeping Secretary of State offices accessible: People count on the Secretary of State for driver’s license and plate renewals, along with many other services. This budget requires branch offices to offer walk-in service so Michigan residents can more easily get the help they need.
- 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 plan received overwhelming bipartisan support. It will now soon advance to the governor for her expected signature.
The House and Senate oversight committees met yesterday to investigate the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency and a recent report that estimated $8.5 billion in distributed fraudulent claims.