The Michigan House today approved a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year with record-high investments in K-12 students and stable funding for government services.
Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert said the plan deals specifically with the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, highlighted by a school aid plan that ensures equitable per-student foundation funding across Michigan – finally achieving a goal first established in the 1990s.
“My goal has always been to complete the upcoming budget by the required July 1 deadline, and I will work with anyone who will help accomplish this mission,” said Albert, of Lowell. “After this challenging past year-and-a-half, the people of Michigan deserve some stability and certainty in what to expect from their state government.
“This budget plan addresses a glaring need – how to help kids catch up on lost learning and get back on track to a bright future,” Albert said. “This plan keeps state government running with clarity and without disruption. This is exactly what Michigan needs right now, and I am hopeful the Senate and governor will join us in finishing this essential task. Afterward, there will be more work to do this summer – deciding which investments to make in infrastructure and reducing debt to put Michigan in the strongest position possible as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Albert led efforts to craft the plan. He was not present for today’s vote because his wife went into labor with their twins shortly before today’s House session began.
Highlights of the plan include:
–A record-high $16.7 billion school aid fund – up nearly 8 percent overall from the current year — which finally and fully closes the per-student foundation funding gap. All districts would get $8,700 per student in the foundation allowance, which for most districts equates to a 7-percent increase. All districts would get at least 2 percent more.
–Federal COVID relief funding with equalization payments to ensure every school gets at least $1,093 in additional funding per student. More than $4 billion in federal COVID relief for schools was approved overall today, in addition to the money in the regular school aid fund for next fiscal year.
–The Great Start Readiness Program receives an additional investment of $168 million to significantly increase the amount of funding per child while also adding thousands of new openings statewide.
–More resources are invested in special education, career and tech equipment, and many other initiatives to help give every student a better chance to thrive. A one-time $560 million investment into the school retirement system will help ensure promised benefits get paid while freeing up money for the classroom in future years.
The budget for community colleges and universities will be addressed in a future measure.
The state’s general fund will be roughly the same size as in the current budget year with adjustments mainly to reflect caseload changes and other economic factors — enabling strong support for public health, public safety, and other critical initiatives. A 2-percent increase in statutory revenue sharing will help local governments maintain essential services. More resources are available for foster care, direct care workers, dam safety and many other important functions.
Michigan House Republicans today detailed a comprehensive plan to support public safety personnel and better protect the people they serve – including an innovative out-of-state recruitment plan to address an officer shortage at local law enforcement agencies.
In a time where political power is divided within state government, we came together and accomplished a lot of good with this budget.
We helped ensure the budget is fiscally responsible and sustainable – paying back $150 million into the unemployment trust fund to restore money lost through fraudulent claims, restoring $500 million to the state’s rainy day fund, and keeping billions of dollars on the balance sheet as we move forward.