Whitmer: $79 Billion Budget Invests in Public Safety, Education, Lower Costs

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released her fifth executive budget recommendation she says will lower costs, grow Michigan’s economy, and build a brighter future for anyone who wants to call Michigan home.

Whitmer and State Budget Director Christopher Harkins outlined the proposal to a joint session of the Senate and House Appropriations committees Wednesday morning. 

The budget recommendation makes investments to support the success of Michigan students and teachers, improve the state’s infrastructure, better the health of residents, protect natural resources, and expand opportunity for families, communities, and businesses. 

“Today, I am proud to introduce my executive budget proposal to lower costs, grow our economy, and build a brighter future for anyone who wants to call Michigan home,” Witmer said. “My budget includes investments to put money back in people’s pockets, help students thrive in school, put more people on paths to higher education and good-paying jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, keep our communities safe, and improve public health.

“In the months ahead, I look forward to working with my partners in the legislature to deliver a balanced budget that makes a real difference in people’s lives,” she added. “Let’s get it done.” 

The budget recommendation totals $79 billion and it includes a general fund total of $14.8 billion and a School Aid Fund total of $19 billion. It provides a significant amount of one-time funding while maintaining a structural balance in future years and does not utilize one-time funds for ongoing purposes.

Not everyone approved of the plan. North Muskegon Republican Sen. Jon Bumstead, vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said parts of the proposal are “out-of-touch” in a statement Wednesday that expressed concern over how the plan will affect the state’s $9.2 billion surplus.

“A budget that hijacks this surplus to grow government instead of returning money to the taxpayers it belongs to is simply out-of-touch,” Bumstead said, according to the Detroit News.

Harkins, though, called Whitmer’s budget a “proposal for making Michigan a state where everyone can succeed.”

“Through strategic investments we can leverage our state and federal resources to rejuvenate and reinvigorate our state,” Harkins said. “I look forward to working with the legislature over the next few months to ensure we enact a budget that makes Michigan stronger.” 

Lowering Costs 
The budget recommendation includes investments to lower costs and help Michiganders fight inflation. Among the provisions: 

“Access to quality child care is critical to workforce attraction and retention,” said Warren Call, President and CEO of Traverse Connect. “We are thankful to (Whitmer) for responding to potential workforce challenges with expanding access to quality pre-K and child care and look forward to working together on potential solutions.” 

Getting Kids Back on Track 
The budget recommendation includes the highest per-student investment in Michigan history for the fifth year in a row without raising taxes, funding to help students and adults build critical reading skills, and free breakfast and lunch to all Michigan public school students. The budget includes: 

  • $900 million deposit into a new rainy day fund for schools – funds set aside for future budgetary needs – ensuring long-term financial stability of the state’s public education system.  

“A high-quality public education can put young Michiganders on the path to long-term success,” said David Hecker, President, AFT Michigan

“Kids should be focused on learning and growing in school, and for too long, too many children in Michigan have skipped meals or gone hungry,” said Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson. “Governor Whitmer’s proposal to deliver free breakfast and lunch to all 1.4 million students in Michigan will save families at least $850 a year and ensure no kid goes hungry at school.” 

Public Health
The budget recommendation calls for funding focused on the health of Michigan families. The budget includes a plan for Michigan to manufacture insulin to families hundreds of dollars a month, close maternal health gaps by continuing to fund the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to support groups for new moms and their children, and other initiatives to close racial health disparities. Among other things, the plan also earmarks:  

Public Safety
The budget recommendation includes funding to keep families safe, including nearly $500 million that builds on the recent supplemental funding and $1 billion in funding since Whitmer took office. It includes: 

“Budgets are about priorities. We are thankful that the Governor’s budget proposal makes clear that safer communities and better policing are priorities” said Rob Figurski, President, Michigan Association of Police Organizations. “Law enforcement needs resources not rhetoric.” 

Rebuilding Infrastructure 
The budget recommendation calls for investments in infrastructure to remove and replace lead service lines, improve our roads and bridges, and put Michigan in the lead on future mobility and electrification with a focus on developing our charging infrastructure and electrifying state fleets, including: 

Economic Development 
The budget recommendation calls for funding centered on economic development, including: 

  • Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund. 

The budget recommendation also proposes a $200 million deposit to the Budget Stabilization Fund, which would bring the rainy day fund balance to nearly $2 billion by the end of Fiscal Year 24, an all-time high. 

Additionally, $88.9 million is included to provide a 5% increase in both ongoing and one-time statutory revenue sharing to help counties, cities, villages, and townships; and new dedicated statutory revenue sharing funds, 2% ongoing and 5% one-time, for public safety initiatives; plus, an additional $61.9 million over current year funding in constitutional revenue sharing payments.