On Thursday night, the Michigan Legislature passed a $77-billion budget for the 2023 fiscal year that includes funding for roads, education, $100 million for the new University of Michigan Detroit Center for Innovation in downtown Detroit, tax cuts, public pension relief, and more.
Among the highlights of the bi-partisan legislation that now goes to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her consideration are:
— $2.3 billion to help fix local roads and bridges.
— $1.7 billion to fix state highway roadways and bridges.
— $414.5 million to maintain wage increases for direct care workers.
— Funding to help local governments meet their pension obligations and free up funds for local services like police, fire, and road repairs.
— A boost for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect programs to help train and retain Michigan workers.
— Funds to train 170 new state police troopers and additional 800 corrections officers.
— Funding included in the Environment Great Lakes and Energy budget for an updated geological survey. The state currently relies on information that is more than 100 years old.
— Money to help recruit and train school bus drivers to help alleviate a current shortage. This issue was exacerbated by the pandemic as drivers were unable to update their CDL licenses due to secretary of state branch closures.
“Similar to previous years, a major focus was increasing our commitment to K-12 education and Michigan students, and to critical state priorities like road and bridge repairs and growing our workforce and economy,” says Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes. “The Senate also voted to set funds aside for much-needed tax relief as those discussions with the administration continue.”
Senate Bill 845, which includes funding for K-12 education, features a nearly $2.6 billion increase from last year, moving the total K-12 budget to $19.6 billion. The bill dedicates $630.5 million to increase the minimum foundation allowance to a total of $9,150 per student.
The school aid budget also includes $305 million in scholarship funding to help address critical teacher shortages, a $295 million funding line to address student mental health and to increase access to mental health care, $33 million for school-based health clinics, $175 million to support current school employees earning a teaching certificate and $52 million for grants to help schools address learning loss still lingering from the pandemic.
“We applaud the Legislature and Governor for reaching a bipartisan budget agreement that will help Michigan win jobs and new businesses, attract talent, support our students and teachers, and provide opportunities for more widely shared prosperity across our state,” says Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.
“We are pleased to see a number of public education and talent investments that Business Leaders for Michigan prioritized in our ‘Compete to Win’ plan incorporated in the agreement, including:
— K-12 per pupil funding increases, including additional equity funding for at-risk students and those receiving services through special education
— Funding for Michigan’s Future Educator Fellowship, which will help address the state’s teacher shortage.
— New funding to increase the availability of afterschool and summer programming
— Funding to support voluntary school consolidations and infrastructure investments
— Funding for the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System and other underfunded municipal pensions.
— Investments in post-secondary scholarships and worker training
“Business Leaders for Michigan also celebrates the $100 million for the Detroit Center for Innovation, the result of a partnership between Related Companies, Olympia Development of Michigan and the University of Michigan. This world-class research, education and entrepreneurship center – and more like it – are key for keeping our economy competitive on the global stage.
“Much has been accomplished with this budget agreement, including staying focused on investing in Michigan’s future and avoiding fiscal cliffs. Now we encourage policymakers to continue working across the aisle toward a consensus to invest more in economic development, particularly in funding shovel-ready site development and creating a sustainable funding mechanism for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund. These investments are critically needed for Michigan to be more competitive and become a Top 10 state.
“We must keep the momentum going so that Michigan can compete to win.”