Budget includes major investments at local and state levels to improve lives, state’s future
LANSING, Mich. (June 28, 2023) — Today, the Michigan Senate Democrats passed their first majority-led state budget in 40 years, and with it, transformational change for Michigan and the kids, families, workers, business owners and seniors who call our state home. House Bill 4437 includes funding for all state departments for 2024 and Senate Bill 173 covers school funding for the upcoming school year. Both bills passed the Senate with bipartisan support and were given immediate effect.
“I am proud to announce that today Michigan has passed a bipartisan budget that puts our people first,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “Budgets are moral documents and what they include reflect the values of our state. Our budget is the product of conversations and meetings with constituents across our state from all walks of life. We have made historic increases in funding for schools, infrastructure, housing, and workforce development. We have reinvested in communities and programs that have been overlooked for far too long while remaining fiscally responsible and implementing unprecedented transparency measures. This transformational budget prioritizes the needs and wants of the people of Michigan—and that’s always how it should be.”
For the past 40 years, too many Michiganders — especially directly impacted communities and populations — have been largely left out of the state budget process. Over that time, the state saw historic disinvestment by previous leadership that has led to crumbling roads and bridges, outdated and dangerous water systems, struggling and strained schools and other challenges facing our state and its people.
But Senate Democrats, finally in a position to do things differently, seized the opportunity to craft and pass one of the most inclusive and equitable state budgets in Michigan’s history. The budget reinvests in Michigan’s communities and people, and it will generate significant, positive change around the state. This includes historic investments in:
- Public Health and Safety, including funding for essential direct care workers to get a wage increase, fire stations to upgrade their equipment, local health departments and federally qualified health centers, support for gun violence prevention efforts, emergency alert system upgrades, and community-based crisis response grants;
- Education, including universal school meals, a foundation allowance increase of 5% — the largest in state history, fully funded special education programs, and student teacher stipends for K-12, as well as historic investments in community colleges, public universities, student financial aid and student support resources;
- Infrastructure, including one-time funding for the most critical road and bridge projects across the state, as well as support for improved transportation, water and environmental systems — plus transformative community investments in housing, municipal needs, and more;
- Culture and Recreation, including funding for expanded access and improvements to parks and recreational opportunities, cultural resource management and capital improvements to our cultural institutions, shows and exhibitions;
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including funds to support the Racial Disparities Task Force and recently passed Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion, as well as racial equity in community health plans, and grants to support business owners and entrepreneurs of color in agriculture and other industries;
- Michigan Workforce and Talent Development, including support for college success supports and the successful, bipartisan Michigan Reconnect program, adult literacy and scholarship, building trades and more;
- Fiscal Responsibility, including funding for the Budget Stabilization Fund and debt service for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“From the very beginning of our Majority for the People, we knew we wanted a budget focused on making it easier to raise a family, promoting safe and thriving neighborhoods, helping folks earn a decent paycheck while keeping more of it in their pocket at the end of the month and ensuring we can keep prioritizing the things that matter most to us here in Michigan,” said Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).
“To accomplish that, we fanned out across the state to talk with constituents, community leaders, labor and industry leaders, issue stakeholders — everyone we could to make this a well-rounded, pragmatic budget. These are more than just numbers on a page. This budget will result in transformative improvements in our communities and I’m incredibly proud that we have gotten it across the finish line with bipartisan support.”
The school budget also included Great Start Readiness Program eligibility expansion and a five-day preschool option, a 50% funding increase for English-Language Learners and the first-ever Opportunity Index to improve school funding equity.
“As a former teacher, I’m unbelievably proud of the Education Budget we passed today,” said Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton), Chair of the Senate Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. “For the first time in decades, we have a budget that properly invests in our students, teachers and schools. After listening to educators, parents and students in our communities, we crafted a budget that prioritizes our students who need the most support, incentives to keep educators in the classroom and programs that will help build the schools of the future. I’m excited to see how our schools implement this transformational investment in their districts in the next school year.”
There is also significant transparency built into this budget and its implementation. Throughout the process, Senate Democrats have been in constant communication with their constituents and communities, their Republican counterparts, as well as organizations and residents from around the state to inform this state budget.
In addition, the budget includes language and improved requirements around transparency and reporting, for the first time requiring all state departments to publicly report and post online all specific earmarks and enhancement grants, and identify the legislator associated with them. The reporting is officially required to begin in January 2024, and the departments must publicly promote this information by September 2024, though Senate Appropriations Chair Anthony and Senate Democrats will be working to make that information accessible as soon as it’s available.