Michigan’s new state budget will deliver what students, families and communities need to thrive both today and in the future, House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert said.
The plan approved by the Legislature continues the trend of increased investment in education and school safety, mental health, community development and other essential services – while paying off more long-term debt, providing financial flexibility moving forward, and leaving room for the tax relief Michigan families desperately need in a time of high inflation.
“Michigan will be a better place to live, work and raise a family because of this budget plan – today and years into the future,” said Albert, R-Lowell. “Students and teachers will have more resources to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic, and we are taking steps to make their buildings safer. We are strengthening communities and supporting families. And we are doing it all in a fiscally responsible way that does not mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren.”
Albert said the budget plan limits ongoing, year-to-year spending by using already available one-time resources to make strategic investments in the current fiscal year, and in the new year beginning Oct. 1. Highlights include:
Reducing public debt: Escalating payments into public employee pension systems are crippling the finances of schools and local governments – and would continue to do so unless action is taken right now. The new budget allocates about $2.6 billion to reduce debt in these systems, including $1.725 billion in K-12 and university systems, $750 million for local municipalities and $100 million in the Michigan State Police system. “This frees up resources to be used for other purposes today and in the future – getting more money directly into our schools and communities,” Albert said.
Financial flexibility and preparedness: The plan leaves billions of dollars on the balance sheet unallocated so legislators can continue efforts to provide tax relief and protect the state against a possible economic downturn. Another $180 million will be deposited in the state’s rainy day fund, boosting the balance above $1.5 billion. “I continue to be worried about the possibility of a recession, which would result in lower revenues coming into state government than we have previously anticipated,” Albert said. “The last thing we want to do is approve a budget that would prevent the possibility of tax relief or require spending cuts later in the fiscal year, and we have taken steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Supporting students and teachers: A $19.6 billion school aid fund includes a record-high per-student base grant of $9,150, and a $575 million plan will help recruit and retain teachers as students catch up on learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. All students are supported – special education programs will receive more than $1.9 billion, including a $246 million increase in reimbursements to help districts improve services. An additional $168 million will support school safety, and $25 million will support school resource officers. A $500 million fund will help schools consolidate buildings or improve their efficiency. These investments come on top of the more than $6 billion in federal COVID-19 relief the Michigan Legislature has approved for schools in the past two years. Support for universities and community colleges also is significantly increased in the new budget.
Better roads: A $6 billion Department of Transportation budget – up from $5.4 billion – continues Republican efforts to improve roads without additional tax increases. Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a separate $4.7 billion package that will improve roads, water systems and other public infrastructure.
Safer and stronger communities: The budget includes $130 million to support local-level law enforcement and public safety personnel. This includes help for police academies with scholarships and cadet salaries, community policing investments, EMS training, fire department equipment and communications tower upgrades. Revenue sharing to support local community services increases by 6 percent, and a one-time additional $300 million investment will support community and economic development in communities statewide. Mental and behavioral health facilities and programs receive a $625 million boost to improve services for both children and adults across the state.
Family and maternal health: A $20 million investment will support the health of pregnant mothers and their babies – increasing access to prenatal and postnatal care, providing other vital services, and promoting adoption. Albert said these investments are even more urgent now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. The budget also sets aside $750,000 for the Legislature to defend the constitutionality of the 1931 Michigan law that criminalizes performing abortions.
“The U.S. Supreme Court decision is cause for celebration, but it is only the beginning of our fight to defend life in Michigan,” Albert said. “The Legislature is ready to defend our pro-life law. At the same time, Michigan must be a place where every pregnant mother and her baby can get the help and support they need.”
The budget bills advance to Gov. Whitmer for her consideration.
Note: The budget plan is included in House Bill 5783 and Senate Bill 845.
Rep. Thomas Albert today helped lead the Michigan House’s efforts to block the implementation of burdensome reporting requirements scheduled to take effect with the upcoming deer hunting season.