GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she’s pleased with the $75.5 billion budget that she and the Republican-led Legislature have worked out and she’s ready to start negotiating on how to use an additional funds still sitting in Michigan’s coffers.
“I think it was, as always, tough negotiations but ultimately we got it done. It’s another bipartisan budget — one that’s done on time, one that can give our students and our educators the kind of support that they so desperately need coming out of these incredibly disruptive couple of years,” Whitmer, a Democrat, told News 8 in a video call Wednesday.
The budget is Michigan’s largest ever. It includes $6 billion for roads and infrastructure, $693 million for school safety and infrastructure and record per-pupil funding of $9,150. Whitmer pointed to efforts to recruit, retain and support teachers and paraprofessionals and in special needs and English language learner programs.
“Our kids are resilient, there’s no question, but they’re human beings and they’ve been through an incredible amount of stress,” she said. “Helping them get on track with the wraparound services so that they’re getting on track academically, as well as socially and emotionally, is so important to their individual success, but our collective success, as well.”
After a messy budget process in 2019, the state Legislature passed a new statute requiring it to get the budget done by July 1. This is the first year that has happened. It allows all schools and many cities whose fiscal years start July 1 to get their spending in order. The state’s new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
The state still has $7 billion in one-time funds from the federal government to dole out.
“We still have a lot of resources to deploy. It’s still potential for getting some relief to people who are struggling with the bills and inflation,” Whitmer said.
She and legislative leaders have yet to reach an agreement on exactly what that tax or inflation relief would look like. The Legislature is now on summer break, so a deal is not imminent.
—News 8 political reporter Rick Albin contributed to this report.