Governor Whitmer Unveils State Budget Plan For 2021

Ready for Round 2.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her budget plan for 2021 after a long drawn out fight last year.

Governor Whitmer took some big swings in her first budget plan in 2019 and that lead to a lock with the legislature.

Now in Year 2, the plan put forth seems to be a bit subdued but more targeted at what she finds most important.

“These are the dinner table issues that I am always going to stay focused on as governor,” says Gov. Whitmer.

Gov. Whitmer’s budget plan for 2021 is expensive. Up about 4% from last year to $61.9 billion..

The new additions are mainly focusing on three major buckets, the environment, family health and education.

“This really is the best education budget we’ve seen in a couple of decades,” says Whitmer.

More money for preschool and more focus on secondary education. Schools will receive up to $225 more per pupil, closing the gap between large and small schools in funding.

“It is really about doing the right thing on behalf of our kids,” says Whitmer, “Whether they live in rural parts of our state or in an urban part of our state or somewhere in between.”

“We’re still not receiving as much per child in our schools as some schools are downstate and I want to see that accelerated,” says Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, “She doesn’t and I look forward to negotiating with her on that.”

Of course when it comes to roads, that was the big sticking point last year with her proposed 45-cent gas tax. With her bonding proposal already set in motion this year, there was nothing added to the budget. She says it’s up to the legislature to figure out the long-term plan.

“If we go back to last year, the discussion was, ‘Well we will work on a budget and then work on a road plan,’” says Rep. Jack O’Malley, House Transportation Chair, “I’m guessing that’s where we’re at now.”

“I am hopeful that they show some serious effort and put something on paper,” says Whitmer, “In front of everyone to scrutinize. One that actually has numbers and dollars on it.”

The legislature has agreed to have their response to her desk by July 1, then the real negotiations begin.

“I don’t tilt at windmills,” says Whitmer, “I am realistic. I put a solution on the table last year and I’m moving forward and I’m delivering on a lot of these fundamentals.”

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