Outman supports deal to resolve budget deficit

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Wednesday supported supplemental budget bills to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit through spending cuts, hiring freezes and using a portion of the state’s “rainy day fund” while also directing federal funds to education and vital services that were hit hardest by the cost of COVID-19.

“Many Michiganders are hurting as a result of the pandemic and we needed to do the best we could to address that,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “The state was faced with an unprecedented budget shortfall and these measures tighten up the state’s spending and use critical federal funds to help aid Michigan families, schools and communities.”

The bipartisan plan will save $936 million by reducing state spending and will direct additional federal COVID-19 funds to cover expenses by schools and local governments due to the virus, including:

  • $555 million for schools;
  • $200 million for universities and community colleges; and
  • $350 million for local governments.

“We have now approved over $3 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds that have been used to help Michigan schools, businesses, workers and families affected by this pandemic,” Outman said. “As teachers and parents look to the fall and workers and businesses adjust to new safety guidelines, we need to provide all of the help we can as Michigan fights back against the coronavirus.”

Schools would see a net increase of $175 per pupil to help schools address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and teachers would receive $500 in one-time hazard pay for their work to ensure kids were educated after the onset of COVID-19 in Michigan.

“Michigan teachers went above and beyond what we could ever ask as they were faced with incredible difficulties resulting from the coronavirus,” Outman said. “They were able to quickly change course and adapt to distance learning formats and ensure kids were still getting an education as they finished out an incredibly difficult school year.”

As part of the agreement, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an executive order from the governor to reduce current-year spending. Most state agencies will see reductions, including the executive and legislative budgets. The budget plan also uses $350 million from the state’s rainy day fund to support funding for critical programs.

“This is a bipartisan plan that puts the needs of Michiganders first and responsibly uses federal money and funding from the state’s savings to help get our state back on its feet,” Outman said.

Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265 now head to the governor to be signed.

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