Senate passes FY 2022 budget plan

I recently voted in support of the Senate fiscal year 2022 budget plan that meets the pressing issues facing the state of Michigan, continues to provide critical services and makes key investments to improve the state.

A budget is a statement of priorities, and just like the many Michigan families that have had to make tough choices in the past year, so too must state government. Our 2022 budget prioritizes helping Michiganders recover from the pandemic and our governor’s heavy-handed response.

Senate Bill 83 would invest $15.8 billion in K-12 education, an increase of $249 million. The bill would increase the minimum foundation allowance by $250 to $8,361 per pupil, dedicate an additional $20 million to assist students dealing with mental health challenges and boosts preschool funding by $32 million to help reduce class sizes. It also dedicates $1.7 billion to help cover the costs of school employee retirement.

The 17-bill budget plan also includes $72 million for competitive and need-based scholarships for higher education students, $40 million in the Going Pro program to provide grants to support employee training, $30 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college and training, $77 million to provide child care for more families, and $161 million for wage increases for direct care workers and front-line workers at child care institutions.

The plan also appropriates $122.3 million for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide support for Michigan farmers, agriculture producers and to continue important research and fill in the protein processing gaps in our food chain that were exposed during the pandemic.

Our food and agriculture systems are an economic force, supporting hometown jobs and rural communities across the state The Senate plan will also protect our county fairs hard hit by COVID-19 and provide critical mental health services to our farmers — who have one the of highest rates of suicide of any profession.

The bills also prioritize more revenue sharing funding for local governments, more resources for state road and bridge construction, $2.2 billion for local transportation infrastructure projects, a 60% increase to the Pure Michigan campaign, a 50% boost for grants to help struggling veterans with expenses, and a new program to incentivize locals to reduce their long-term debts.