State Rep. Greg Markkanen voted Friday to advance a comprehensive budget plan in the governor’s office that invests in crucial resources for the UP while respecting state spending and hard-working taxpayers.
The plan Markkanen voted to approve continues to increase investments in education, mental health, school safety and more. It also pays down long-term debt to provide greater financial flexibility in the future and leaves billions of dollars available for the tax breaks people desperately need in the face of soaring costs.
“This budget proposal makes key commitments to the services people in UP rely on every day,” said Hancock’s Markkanen. “This will help families, students, workers and communities in our region. We don’t just sign a blank cheque, either. Paying down debt and continuing to fight for vital tax relief are essential to a healthy economic future as we face uncertain economic times. I will continue to prioritize these efforts in the Legislative Assembly because they are priorities for people who want state government to work efficiently, effectively and for them.
Highlights of the plan include:
Support for schools and students: A $19.6 billion school aid fund includes a record per-student base grant of $9,150, and a $575 million plan will help recruit and retain teachers while students catch up learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Special education programs will receive more than $1.9 billion, including a $246 million increase in reimbursements to help districts across the state and UP improve services. An additional $168 million will support safe schools and $25 million will support school resource officers. A $500 million fund will help schools consolidate buildings or improve their efficiency. These investments are in addition to the more than $6 billion in federal COVID-19 relief that Markkanen and the Michigan Legislature have approved for schools over the past two years.
A strong commitment to mental health: Mental and behavioral health facilities and programs set to receive $625 million boost to improve services for children and adults statewide, including UP
Public Safety Funding: A total of $130 million is included to support local law enforcement and public safety personnel. This includes helping police academies with scholarships and cadet salaries, investing in community policing, EMS training, firefighter equipment and communications tower upgrades.
Resources available for workers and local businesses: The plan provides resources for a variety of programs aimed at helping Michigan workers and businesses thrive, including community and economic development, the Going PRO Talent Fund which trains workers for high-demand jobs and others. efforts.
Reduce public debt: Escalating payouts in public employee pension systems are crippling school and local government finances – and would continue to do so unless action is taken now. The new budget allocates $2.6 billion to reduce the debt of these systems, including $1.725 billion in the K-12 and university systems, $750 million for local municipalities and $100 million in the system Michigan State Police. Markkanen said the funding will free up resources to use for other services both now and in the future – bringing more money back to schools and communities.
The plan is now forwarded to the governor for review.