LANSING, Mich. — After listening to state Budget Director Dave Massaron present Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal year 2022 state budget recommendations on Thursday, State Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, issued the following statement:
“I was quite pleased to hear the governor recognize that the money we are currently looking at is largely the result of a one-time boost that we need to be careful with.
“As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Health/Human Services, my main priority is continuing an effective and efficient response to the ongoing pandemic. The Legislature already approved over $4 billion in funding to support those affected by COVID-19, and as we begin discussions on this fiscal year 2022 budget, we’re proposing another $2 billion in federal funding to continue these efforts.
“While the health and safety of Michigan residents is of the utmost importance, I believe we need to keep working on getting the state opened back up and getting people back on their feet. My colleagues and I have approved measures to boost unemployment funding and hire more workers to improve the agency’s response, but we need to continue getting targeted help to workers and struggling job providers.
“While the coronavirus pandemic and response remain at the top of the priority list, I also support many of the other budget priorities, like closing the gap in school funding to make sure teachers and students have the resources they need, investing in our local infrastructure and boosting our savings for the future.
“I also support the governor’s call for funding to maintain the $2-an-hour wage increase for direct care workers. These folks have been hit hard and have remained at the forefront of this virus since day one. I believe this is the least we could do.
“While I remain skeptical as a result of previous budget negotiations, I hope this is the year we can truly work together, get a budget approved on time, and do so without raising taxes on families who are already hurting.”