Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Harkins unveiled her state budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 2024. The total state budget comes in at $79 billion.
That number is a massive record-breaking budget proposal but it was expected to be pretty big since they were sitting on $9 billion of surplus. If Governor Whitmer’s proposal goes through and gets signed as it is, it will leave the state with just $250 million of that surplus.
“First thoughts on it, it’s a lot of money,” said Rep. Ken Borton of Gaylord.
“This is just way too much money for a state to be spending,” said Sen. John Damoose of Harbor Springs.
Whitmer says she realizes the final number is shocking but her proposal is smart, responsible and effective. The state is able to spend that money now thanks to solid accounting the last few years.
“It’s important to point that we’ve been really really shrewd about the budgets we’ve built and the decisions that we’ve made,” said Gov. Whitmer.
A good chunk of the budget is federal funding, but about $15 billion will come from the state general fund and $19 billion from the school aid fund.
“This is a historical education budget,” said Whitmer. “I know I say that every year and every year it’s true.”
A 5% boost in per pupil funding and free lunch and breakfast for every student is there. Built into the price tag is also a separate rainy day fund for schools and more money into the general rainy day fund.
“$3 billion,” said Whitmer. “That is what we are putting into savings to prepare for any potential ups and downs.”
Local Republicans came away with sticker shock but understand the money can be spent but must be done wisely.
“There’s a ton of money in there for lead line and lead pipes in people’s houses. We have a problem in Pellston with PFAs and that’s not even addressed,” said Sen. Damoose. “I need to, if we’re looking for clean water for residents, we need to work on those things for Northern Michigan, too.”
This is just step one, the negotiations can now begin for a final agreement.
“It all looks good on paper, but ultimately we need to figure out how to pay for it and that’s where the work is going to come in,” said Borton.
The absolute deadline to get the budget done is Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown. But there’s a self imposed deadline to get it done by the end of June. They have been able to do that the last few years with the school aid fund but now with a Democratic majority, there should be no issue getting the entire budget done by July 1.
According to the Executive Office, here are details to the plan:
Education – Getting Kids Back on Track
The budget recommendation continues historic public education investments. It includes the highest per-student investment in Michigan history for the fifth year in a row without raising taxes, landmark funding to help students and adults build critical reading skills, and free breakfast and lunch to all Michigan public school students.
Public Health – Strengthening Families
The budget recommendation calls for funding focused on the health of Michigan families. The budget includes a plan for Michigan to manufacture insulin to families hundreds of dollars a month, close maternal health gaps by continuing to fund the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to support groups for new moms and their children, and other initiatives to close racial health disparities. The plan also expands access to family planning services, STI and cancer screenings, and basic lab services to 25,000 people, saving Michiganders an average of $2,000 a year.
Public Safety – Keeping Communities Safe
The budget recommendation includes funding to keep families safe, including nearly $500 million that builds on the recent supplemental funding and $1 billion in funding since Governor Whitmer took office. It includes dedicated resources for the first time ever to hire, train, and retain local cops, firefighters, and EMTs and upgrade public safety facilities and equipment. It also funds evidence-based solutions to tackle the root causes of violence, including community violence intervention programming, and delivers on commonsense gun safety legislation—universal background checks, safe storage, and extreme risk protection orders.
The budget recommendation calls for investments in infrastructure to remove and replace lead service lines, improve our roads and bridges, and put Michigan in the lead on future mobility and electrification with a focus on developing our charging infrastructure and electrifying state fleets.
The budget recommendation calls for funding centered on economic development.
The budget recommendation also proposes a $200 million deposit to the Budget Stabilization Fund, which would bring the rainy day fund balance to nearly $2 billion by the end of Fiscal Year 24, an all-time high.
Additionally, $88.9 million is included to provide a 5% increase in both ongoing and one-time statutory revenue sharing to help counties, cities, villages, and townships; and new dedicated statutory revenue sharing funds, 2% ongoing and 5% one-time, for public safety initiatives; plus, an additional $61.9 million over current year funding in constitutional revenue sharing payments.
For a full break down of the budget, click here.