Lauwers: Senate approves 2022 state budget

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature approved a bipartisan, balanced fiscal year 2022 budget this week that now awaits the governor’s signature, said Senate Majority Floor Leader Dan Lauwers.

“This is a budget that is on time, balanced without raising taxes, that prioritizes improving our state and the lives of Michigan families — while also making government more transparent and accountable to taxpayers,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “We focused on smart investments to help our state continue its recovery from the coronavirus, get people job training and employment assistance, fix critical infrastructure like dams and bridges, strengthen our communities with record school funding, and support direct care workers and police and fire departments.

“I am also pleased that we were able to balance this fiscal year 2022 budget with minimal federal funding — it’s a testament to keeping spending within our means, which will free up the available federal dollars to use in the future for other needs.”

The Senate approved Senate Bill 82, which is a general omnibus budget, and includes:

  • $1.4 billion to lower rates and recruit more childcare workers,
  • $190 million to repair or replace local bridges,
  • $414.5 million to permanently increase wages for direct care workers,
  • $95 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs,
  • $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and
  • $33 million to train new state police troopers and corrections officers.

The plan also deposits $500 million in the state’s rainy-day fund and $150 million in the unemployment trust fund to increase its solvency due to fraudulent benefit payments.

Lauwers also noted the budget includes important state government oversight requirements, including requiring transparency and accountability from the office of the governor during an emergency, requiring the secretary of state to keep branch offices open to walk-in customers, and prohibiting state and local governments and community colleges and universities from forcing people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine against their will.

Also approved was House Bill 4400, a higher education focused budget bill that includes increases for community colleges and public universities and $86 million to reduce university MPSERS obligations — which would build on the $140 million in the previously signed K-12 budget to reduce school unfunded liabilities.

SB 82 and HB 4400 complete the 2022 state budget that began with the signing of the K-12 budget in July, which provided a record level of state school funding for the current school year and boosted every school district’s foundation allowance up to at least $8,700 per student.

“This was a very productive, bipartisan process finalizing our state’s new budget,” Lauwers said. “Everyone was motivated to produce a spending plan that truly focuses on Michiganders’ needs and continuing our state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. I look forward to the governor signing the budget soon and carrying the positive momentum forward into the next year.”

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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