Business Leaders for Michigan Asks for Budget Priorities in Lansing

Citing “unprecedented budget challenges,” Business Leaders for Michigan’s Doug Rothwell has released a short list of mitigation efforts his group is recommending that state elected officials consider as budget priorities going forward in recovery from the pandemic.

Rothwell, President & CEO of the state’s business roundtable known as Business Leaders for Michigan, is also joining other major CEOs from similar business roundtables across the nation in seeking federal aid for state and local governments due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Business Leaders for Michigan today released a short list of 2020-21 budget principles, asking elected officials in Lansing to prioritize state budget spending where it will have the most impact helping the state recover from the onset of COVID-19.

The executive leadership roundtable, which released an initial overall economic recovery plan after the pandemic first hit Michigan, looked at ways for the appropriators in Lansing to quickly and purposefully restructure the state budget to help steer away from further economic crises.

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Rothwell contends, “Our current budget challenges are unprecedented and will require an equally unprecedented response,” and adds, “Most of all, cooperation between elected officials in Lansing and D.C. is required. With additional support from the federal government and shifts in planned spending, Michigan can mitigate massive budget deficits in the year to come.”

The principles, in priority order, are as follows:

  • Prioritize public health and safety, education and economic development for small-and medium-sized businesses by avoiding, or at worst minimizing, cuts to these areas.
  • Seek federal support for utilizing funds already appropriated to Michigan to address COVID-19- related deficits and additional federal assistance to states. Additional support should be apportioned to reward states like Michigan that have effectively managed their pension and debt obligations.
  • Emphasize budget shifts and financing strategies, such as:
    • Revert General Fund personal income tax revenue earmarked for transportation and use bonding as a temporary alternative;
    • Accelerate implementation of K-12 operating efficiencies to protect classroom funding; and
    • Refinance state debt and MPSERS pension debt to take advantage of low interest rates.
  • Utilize surgical budget cuts, such as by targeting Corrections spending.
  • Use no more than 25-percent of the Budget Stabilization Fund per fiscal year.

Rothwell also joined with 15 executives from other state business roundtables in asking Congressional leadership in Washington, D.C. for additional federal aid for state and local governments.

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. Our members drive nearly 40-percent of the state’s economy, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and educate nearly half of all Michigan public university students.