Whitmer signs bills to resolve $2.2 billion budget shortfall
LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed spending bills as part of an agreement to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit in the current budget by using federal coronavirus relief aid, tapping savings, shifting funds and banking cost cuts from employee furloughs that are complete.
The laws include additional funding for K-12 schools and essentially shield universities and community colleges from reductions. Teachers in public and private schools will each get a $500 bonus under the measures that cleared the Republican-led Legislature with just one no vote.
The state still faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall in the fiscal year that starts in two months due to declining tax revenues in the pandemic. Schools in particular are in limbo as they prepare to reopen without knowing their 2020-21 state aid.
“This bipartisan budget package will help protect critical funding for Michigan’s front-line workers, educators and students, but our work isn’t done,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. She again urged President Donald Trump and Congress to extend additional federal unemployment benefits and give more aid to Michigan “so we can maintain essential services like education, health care and public safety.”
The White House and its GOP allies appear to be retreating from their opposition to a $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit that has propped up the economy and family budgets but was expiring Friday. Another issue in the negotiations is an almost $1 trillion Democratic demand for funding for state and local governments.