The Republican-led Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration have reached a deal on the state budget and anticipate a vote in the coming week.
(MLive) - In a joint statement, Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, R-Lowell and Budget Director David Massaron said the Legislature will pass a combined budget covering funding for state agencies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Full details of the deal were not immediately disclosed, although officials said the budget will be considered in conference committee prior to floor votes in the House and Senate.
“The last year and a half has been hard on all of our families and communities. Addressing their needs --from jobs to education to government accountability -- is at the center of today’s budget deal,” Stamas said. “By working together our divided Michigan government has shown what can be accomplished when Michigan families are put first.”
Lawmakers and the Whitmer administration already agreed to $17.1 billion school aid budget for the coming fiscal year in July that aims to close the funding gap between the highest- and lowest-funded school districts, a goal the state has been working to accomplish since the passage of Proposal A in 1994. That budget boosted funding for K-12 education by 10% compared to the current fiscal year and amounts to a $589 per pupil increase from the current-year minimum amount.
“A historic investment in schools already has been finalized, and now we are close to finishing work on other parts of the state budget that will help meet the needs of Michigan residents and continue the state’s recovery from the COVID pandemic,” Albert said in a statement.
An agreement on funding for the rest of the state budget took more time as officials grappled with how best to leverage additional revenues and federal COVID-19 aid.
For months prior to the schools budget passing, the administration and Republican lawmakers stalled on allocating billions of dollars in federal funds amid disagreements over the administration’s pandemic policies.
Republicans and Democrats frequently clashed over whether the funding should be tied to additional limits on the administration’s ability to issue COVID-19 orders, although the stalemate ended in May after Whitmer and legislative leaders reached an agreement that resulted in looping the administration back into budget negotiations.