Lawmakers Agree On Budget Plan After COVID-19 Costs

After a long budget battle last summer, COVID-19 forced another one as tax revenue dropped and costs to fight the virus climbed.

Thursday state lawmakers came to an agreement on how to balance the budget, already 10 months into the fiscal year.

Every year with the state budget there’s going to be adjustments made as there’s always some inaccuracies on what was projected and what actually came to fruition. In a year like this, where COVID-19 hit and cost the state $2.2 billion, even lawmakers weren’t sure how they were going to make that up.Budget Balance Pic

“It takes people being creative and it takes people willing to compromise,” says Senator Curtis Hertel of East Lansing.

The 2020 budget was a nightmare to get right in the first place and that was before COVID-19 hit and changed everything. Despite that, lawmakers closed the $2.2 billion gap using federal funding, moving money around, delaying projects and dipping into savings.

“There are additional uses of the rainy day fund,” says Hertel, “I think it would be impossible at this point to declare that it’s not raining.”

Across the board, budgets were cut but for the most part the cuts won’t be seen. Federal CARES Act money helped cover the cost of the virus, so money could be moved from there and into other needs.

“Most Michiganders will be benefited from the budget plan because there will be more money for schools and municipalities,” says Hertel.

“I don’t think that our schools or locals are going to see nearly the impact that we were bracing for just a month ago,” says Senator Jim Stamas of Midland.

Solutions found for now but by the end of September they have to do it again.

“We face an even larger hurdle for 2021 with more than $3 billion deficit,” says Stamas, “I think that this sets the stage for us to come together and work in a positive manner.”

“I believe that this is a good first step,” says Hertel, “It proves that we can work together and solve problems.”

Categories: Coronavirus