Rep. Eric Leutheuser today said a finalized state budget plan erases a significant shortfall while maintaining support for education, law enforcement and other top shared Michigan priorities.
The plan recently approved by the Michigan Legislature was signed by the governor this week. It addresses a $2.2 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year caused by COVID-19 and the governor’s decisions to shut down the economy.
“This was a challenging and difficult budget cycle. Cuts were necessary, but we were able to avoid reductions to our community’s top priorities such as education and law enforcement,” said Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “This agreement will help our students, families and job providers as they continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The state will use $350 million from its ‘rainy day’ budget stabilization fund – which Leutheuser noted has been built up over the past several years by the Legislature to be used in case of fiscal emergencies just like the one Michigan is facing today. The plan also relies on $460 million in savings and efficiencies, and the use of already available federal COVID relief funds to ensure budget certainty.
Already available federal COVID-19 relief funds provide more than $500 million for schools, far outweighing the $256 million reduction in state revenue. The federal relief provides $150 million for local governments. Increased federal support also largely replaces corresponding state revenue reductions to the Michigan State Police, so the agency can continue its vital role protecting and serving residents.
Leutheuser noted that while the current year’s budget challenges have been addressed, work continues on finding a solution to the shortfalls expected in the upcoming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
“As always, I will fight for what is most important to Hillsdale and Branch counties as the budget process continues,” Leutheuser said.