LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) today introduced a resolution asking the U.S. Congress to help the State of Michigan, schools, and local governments address revenue shortfalls experienced as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is both a public health crisis and an economic crisis,” Sen. Brinks said. “As Michigan continues its work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its effects, we now must contend with an unprecedented financial problem that we cannot resolve on our own. We need the federal government to join us in this fight and to provide clarity regarding the funds previously allocated in order to help offset Michigan’s revenue shortfall.”
Michigan is expected to receive about $3.8 billion from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but the funds may only be used for expenses associated with the pandemic. In addition, the act only provides direct aid to local governments with a population exceeding 500,000 — a qualification that only a handful of Michigan’s nearly 2,000 local units of government would meet.
“Because state law requires school districts to pass their budgets by the end of June, they are being asked to make incredibly tough decisions at this very moment,” Sen. Brinks said. “Increasing flexibility when using CARES Act dollars will help mitigate drastic cuts that our schools and communities are facing.”
Senate Resolution 124 notes that while Congress enacted some federal aid for states and local governments, the limited scope and restrictions will be insufficient to weather the effects of the pandemic.
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