Michigan House budget plan delivers what the state needs most

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Rep. Griffin: Michigan House budget plan addresses the state’s most important needs

Rep. Beth Griffin voted this week in favor of a state budget plan designed to help Michigan students, workers, families and communities thrive.

The plan approved by the House of Representatives also leaves room for $1 billion in tax relief, the details of which will be decided soon.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, this budget plan addresses what Michigan needs most,” said Griffin, R-Mattawan. “Students need help to catch up on lessons they have missed over the past two years. Workers need help learning skills more than ever to land good jobs and launch their careers. And with skyrocketing inflation, Michigan residents desperately need tax relief so they have more money for groceries, gas stations and other expenses.

Highlights of the house plan for the budget year beginning October 1 include:

Support for students and teachers: The house plan provides additional resources for summer credit recovery programs to help children catch up. A nearly $20 billion school aid fund includes a record per-student base allocation of $9,000 per student, up $300 per student from the current year and more than $2,000 compared to ten years ago. The House plan includes more than $500 million for teacher recruitment and retention, $300 million for safe schools initiatives, an additional $210 million for special education expense reimbursement and more resources for rural transport. These investments are in addition to the more than $6 billion in federal COVID-19 relief the Michigan Legislature has approved for schools over the past two years.

Labor and Economic Development: The home plan continues its efforts to train Michigan workers for high-demand jobs and also invests $40 million in the Pure Michigan campaign so critical to the state’s tourism industry and economy. The budget uses $155 million in federal COVID relief to expand the Reconnect program, which provides scholarships to adults returning to school to earn an associate’s degree or skilled trades certification. New requirements will provide opportunities for adults as young as 21 and ensure participating community colleges make the most of students’ past life experience. The House invests more in apprenticeship programs and funding for Going PRO is maintained. An additional $30 million would help business incubators create jobs across the state. “Finding solutions to Michigan’s labor shortage is a top priority, and this budget proposal is a step in the right direction,” said Griffin, who chairs the House Workforce, Trades and Talent Committee.

Drinking water and improved infrastructure: State revolving funds that communities can access to help with local water infrastructure projects are getting a $214 million boost. This is in addition to nearly $2 billion in one-time additional resources recently approved by the Legislative Assembly and already enacted, including resources specifically to replace lead water pipes, address sewage systems and to clean up contamination.

Paying off debt and saving for the future: Escalating payouts in public employee pension systems are crippling the finances of schools and local governments. The House budget allocates more than $4 billion in additional one-time funding to offset the debt of these systems, including $2.6 billion for the teachers’ pension system, $1.2 billion for local municipalities and An additional $350 million for the Michigan State Police Retirement System – freeing up money to be used for other purposes for a long time. The state would also invest more in savings — $100 million for the Rainy Day Fund and $674 million for the School Aid Stabilization Fund — in the event of an economic downturn.

The House budget plan is presented to the Senate for further consideration.

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