Theis, Bollin pleased with budget that’s heading to governor’s desk

The Michigan Legislature on Sept. 23, 2020, finalized a bipartisan fiscal year 2021 budget that is balanced, on time, and increases state financial support for Michigan’s K-12 schools.

“Michigan’s educators, students and parents have endured some of the most difficult circumstances in dealing with COVID-19,” said state Sen. Lana Theis, who chairs the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. “Despite the challenges and uncertainty, everyone has come together to adapt to this new normal to ensure schoolchildren receive the quality education they deserve, no matter where they are learning. I am proud that the leaders were able to join together, with bipartisan support, to approve the new budget that includes more for schools, especially for those that are growing.”

Theis successfully fought for a $66 million appropriation in Senate Bill 927, which is the omnibus education budget, for schools with growing attendance. The education budget also includes a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools, in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the prior FY 2020 budget. It also includes $37 million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.

State Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton Township, noted that the plan once again was approved without tax increases. The budget does not grow state government, returning about $35 million to the state’s budget stabilization fund to prepare for future challenges.

“I’m pleased we were able to build a budget that protects and maintains investments in the things that matter most to Michigan families without asking people to pay more in taxes,” Bollin said. “We’ve even managed to increase our investment in students and schools — a far better outcome than the reductions many believed might be necessary a few months back. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I worked hard to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and preserve the priorities of Livingston County residents.”

Also approved was House Bill 5396, the general omnibus budget, which protects local revenue sharing to support local police departments, fire departments, paramedics and first responders, and provides $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength to help keep communities safe.

The budget also fully funds the 2015 plan to help fix the state’s roads, and it includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, $26 million for the Going Pro program to help train workers, $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help people complete an associate degree or skills certificate, $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and $35 million into the state’s rainy day fund.

The budget bills now go to the governor for signing.

Michigan’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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