July 16, 2021
Recovery from the recent flooding and storms is still underway in our community and resources are readily available.
In this newsletter, you’ll find helpful information about filing insurance claims due to storm damage, how to protect yourself against tax scams, information about Michigan’s recent investment in our natural parks and trails, and how to stay healthy by preventing tick bites. There’s also a summary of the largest investment in K-12 schools that we’ve ever seen in this state, which is proof that when we work together, we can accomplish good things.
As we continue to enjoy summer and re-engage with our community, I hope that you and your family remain safe, healthy, and happy.
FLOOD INSURANCE RESOURCES
With many still feeling the effects of recent storms, it’s important to know what resources are available to you in order to ensure a quick and easy recovery. Below are online resources from the Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ (DIFS) website that you may find helpful when working with insurance companies to file a claim and repair damages. DIFS can help answer questions regarding what an insurer must do and help explain policy language.
Additional information regarding disaster preparedness, as well as how to file a complaint against an insurance company with DIFS, is available on the DIFS website at Michigan.gov/DIFS under the “Consumer Services” link. Resources related to the recent storm can also be found on the DIFS website under “Disaster Preparedness”.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Consumer Services toll free Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 with any questions you may have.
FOSTERING FUTURES SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE NOW AUG. 1
Young adults who have experienced foster care on or after their 13th birthday now have more time to apply for a scholarship from the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
The Fostering Futures Scholarship application period for academic year 2021-22 will stay open until Aug. 1. Eligible students enrolled at a Michigan degree-granting college or university may now apply to receive scholarship funds for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and supplies.
To learn more about the Fostering Futures Scholarship, visit www.fosteringfutures-mi.com.
Fostering Futures Scholarship applicants with questions should contact the state Treasury Department’s Student Scholarships, Grants and Outreach Division at email@example.com or call toll-free at 1-888-4-GRANTS (888-447-2687).
GOV. WHITMER SIGNS LEGISLATION MAKING HISTORIC INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION
On Tuesday, July 13, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the School Aid budget into law in the presence of students, educators, and school administrators at Kentwood Public Schools. The signing of House Bill 4411 marked a historical moment for the state by reaching the goal of eliminating the funding gap between districts at the minimum and maximum foundation allowances, as set forth by Proposal A of 1994.
In addition, I was proud to join Governor Gretchen Whitmer, students, educators, and support staff at Ojibwa Elementary School in Macomb County when she signed House Bill 4421. This budget supplemental appropriates $4.4 billion in federal COVID relief funding to support schools across the state and help students, teachers, and schools recover from the pandemic. This historic education funding represents the bipartisan work completed in late June to ensure that Michigan’s K-12 education system takes advantage of federal funding to make unprecedented investments in our schools.
The bill finalizes the fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget, which totals $17.1 billion including $85.4 million from the state’s General Fund. It also provides cost adjustments and supplemental funding for the current 2021 year.
The budget includes $723 million to eliminate the gap between the minimum and maximum foundation allowance by setting both at $8,700 per pupil, an increase of $589 per pupil from the current year minimum amount and an increase of $171 per pupil from the current year target amount. In addition, intermediate school districts will receive a 4% operational funding increase.
The FY 2022 School Aid budget also increases access to early education through the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides preschool to families at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
The new investment includes $121 million in federal funding and $47.5 million from the School Aid Fund, for a total investment of $168.5 million. The full day per child allocation is increased from $7,250 to $8,700 and additional funding is provided to expand the program. The expansion is the first of a three-year phase-in which seeks to ensure access to 22,000 additional income-eligible children by the fourth year.
In addition to closing the gap and increasing access to preschool programing, the 2022 School Aid Budget makes strategic investments as follows:
TREASURY: BE ALERT FOR SUMMER TAX SCAMS
The Michigan Department of Treasury is encouraging Michiganders to remain alert for scammers impersonating tax officials through phone calls or emails — or even fake letters through the U.S. Postal Service.
In the summer, the department typically observes scams where criminals claim to be government officials and ask for cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or gift card. These scammers tend to make “urgent” and “aggressive” requests through robocalls, emails, or fake letters. Scammers often alter their identity to portray themselves as the state Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service or another government agency, and tend use employee titles, a person’s name, address, and other personal information to seem official.
It’s important to remember that the state Treasury Department does not:
Taxpayers should hang up immediately if they receive a call from a scammer. Emails should be deleted immediately.
Individuals who have questions about their state debts should call Treasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts and provide flexible payment options.
HISTORIC $150 MILLION INVESTMENT PROPOSED FOR LOCAL PARKS AND TRAILS
On Tuesday, July 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a historic investment in community parks and recreation facilities, proposing $150 million in federal relief dollars from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan be dedicated to addressing critical needs in local park systems.
Each year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources receives grant requests from local communities and many of those requests go unfunded because there isn’t enough money available to support them. Over the last five years, the average of development grant applications to the DNR for three primary grant programs — the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Passport Grants and Land and Water Conservation Fund — has approached $40 million annually.
Nearly $20 million of those annual requests could not be met because of lack of available funding.
This investment would create good-paying, blue collar jobs across the state and be administered as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that would support the economies, health, and recovery of communities statewide. It would also serve to boost tourism to Michigan parks, which generates value for surrounding communities, creates jobs, and sustains small businesses. On average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefit.
MICHIGANDERS URGED TO PREVENT TICK BITES
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is encouraging Michigan residents to take steps to avoid tick bites when enjoying the outdoors this summer. Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, are increasing across the state.
Signs and symptoms of tick-borne disease typically begin one to two weeks after a tick bite or being in wooded or brushy areas where ticks commonly live. Early symptoms can be non-specific and include fever or chills, rash, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Early treatment with appropriate antibiotics can decrease the risk of serious complications.
Protect yourself and your family against tick-borne diseases by following these tips:
Avoid tick-infested areas:
Use insect repellent:
Perform daily tick checks:
Bathe or shower:
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