Rep. Eric Leutheuser today said the Michigan Legislature is continuing its work to provide budget certainty to schools and local communities facing financial challenges because of COVID-19 and the state’s economic shutdown.
A framework agreement recently reached between legislative leaders and the governor for the current budget year calls for $490 million in savings and efficiencies within state government, the use of $350 million from the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund, and implementation of already available federal COVID-19 relief funds. Support for schools and local governments would be protected in the plan the Legislature is expected to consider soon.
“There are no easy answers in this difficult budget cycle, but this is a solution that does our best to support schools, families and communities across Michigan,” said Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “I continue to endorse a strategy that uses already available resources and smart decision-making to protect the top priorities of Hillsdale and Branch counties.”
Leutheuser and the Legislature already have taken significant action to help schools and local governments cover additional costs they have incurred because of COVID-19.
The Legislature, with Leutheuser’s support, recently allocated $880 million in federal funding for COVID-19 relief. Gov. Whitmer announced on July 1 that this measure — Senate Bill 690 — has been signed into law.
The measure provides $29 million to help boost staffing and improve technology at the Unemployment Insurance Agency, which has failed to keep pace with claims as the state’s jobless rate soared above 20 percent. Domestic violence shelters and related organizations will receive $4 million for personal protective equipment, telehealth, temporary housing, telehealth and other services. Other family and health care needs are addressed through assistance with rent and utility payments, child care, food banks and other programs.
The measure also includes $100 million for a ‘restart’ grant program to help job providers and their employees get back on their feet. Senate Bill 690 also provides assistance to help local governments continue to pay public safety and public health personnel, and to purchase personal protective equipment.