GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In the early morning hours Friday, the state House and Senate finalized work on a budget for the next fiscal year. The plan spends a record $75.5 billion.
Republicans and Democrats worked together to get the budget done by July 1, the start of the fiscal year for many cities and all schools across the state. The state’s fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
In all, this budget, from the perspective of some lawmakers, makes up for what they see in many areas — like mental health care — as decades of lacking investment.
In a release, state Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, laid out some funding coming to West Michigan:
- $6.5 million to help cover transition costs for the Michigan Veteran Homes at Grand Rapids, which recently upgraded its facilities.
- $38 million for a new pediatric mental health facility.
- $30 million toward a 12,000-seat amphitheater proposed in downtown Grand Rapids.
State Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids, highlighted another aspect of the new spending bills, saying he supported them because they help “build a stronger Michigan.” In addition to the $6 billion that will go to roads and infrastructure, he pointed to grants for community policing and $30 million for fire departments and medical services.
There is a lot more. The school aid bill will raise per-pupil funding to $9,150 and the total school aid fund is approaching $20 billion. Some $2.6 billion will be used to reduce the debt in the public employee pension system and $180 million will go to the state’s “rainy day” fund.
And with $7 billion held back and still in the state’s coffers, some type of tax or inflation relief for Michigan taxpayers is still possible. It could also be used to help brace for a potential economic downturn.