Warning that the onset of colder winter weather makes it “crucial to pass a bipartisan supplemental budget quickly,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has had State Budget Director Chris Kolb dispatch their version of that supplemental budget request to the leaders of the Michigan Legislator.
Kolb has now provided the Appropriations Committee Chairs in the Michigan Legislature with a supplemental budget request in order to provide additional state funding in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and to help people in every corner of the state.
Gov. Whitmer says, “As we head into the cold winter months, it is crucial that we join forces and pass a bipartisan supplemental budget quickly to get this available funding into the hands of the people across our state who need it the most,” adding, “This supplemental budget request will provide much needed funding to meet a wide range of needs, including support for small businesses as we continue working to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s work together to get this done.”
In addition to helping those individuals and small businesses that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, the supplemental recommendation includes funding needs for testing, contact tracing, PPE, hospital staffing, and support for nursing homes as well as veterans homes. Funding is also included to begin the important work of distributing vaccines to the state’s highest risk residents as quickly as possible after the vaccine becomes available.
The request also includes federal food assistance benefits to provide needed nutrition to children who would typically receive free or reduced-price meals at school if not for the COVID health emergency. Additionally, funding is included for the continuance of the $2/hour wage increase provided to support direct care workers across the state.
Budget Director Kolb says, “The Legislature has indicated a willingness to work with us quickly to ensure we are providing additional support for the people of Michigan,” and warns, “With the recent surge we have seen in the spread of the virus, and knowing the large need that exists for small businesses and people across the state, I think everyone understands the importance of getting this supplemental approved as soon as we can.”
The supplemental recommendations provided today for fiscal year 2021 will be used to continue critical Coronavirus response activities that can no longer be funded with Coronavirus Relief Funds after December 30th under federal law.
Kolb adds, “Part of the urgency around today’s request is the fact that the ability to utilize the relief funds already issued by the federal government goes away at the end of this calendar year, and the tremendous pressure that already exists on our General Fund could be partially alleviated with additional federal aid so that we can put our General Fund dollars to use in other critical areas.” He concludes, “I remain hopeful that Congress can work together to help the states with additional funding. We know that more funding is needed.”
A copy of the letter for the supplemental budget request can be found here:
The photo of Budget Director Chris Kolb accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is from a press conference earlier this summer, and is courtesy of the State of Michigan.