Sen. VanderWall votes for balanced 2021 state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Wednesday voted to support a fiscal year 2021 budget plan that balances the state’s deficit and increases investments in important priorities like K-12 education and public safety.

“The Legislature and administration came together in a bipartisan way to overcome a massive decrease in state revenues this year,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “Today’s budget focuses on increasing money to schools and local revenue sharing, funding the roads plan, and helping protect those in nursing homes.

“Importantly, we are not raising taxes to pay for any of this.”

Senate Bill 927 is an education omnibus budget featuring a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the FY 2020 budget. It also includes an additional $66 million for growing schools, $37 million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.

House Bill 5396 is a general omnibus budget that increases local revenue sharing and fully funds the 2015 plan to help fix the state’s roads. It includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength, $26 million for the Going Pro program to help train employees, and $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help people complete an associate degree or skills certificate.

The budget invests $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, deposits $35 million in the state’s rainy day fund, and provides $1.5 million for rural jobs and investments.

The budget bills now head to the governor for consideration. Michigan’s 2021 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.