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VanderWall supports balanced 2022 budget that prioritizes Michigan families, economic recovery

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Curt VanderWall on Tuesday voted to approve a balanced fiscal year 2022 state budget plan focused on increasing investments to support Michigan families and build up a healthy economy that benefits everyone.

“We approved a responsible budget that prioritizes helping Michigan’s families, workers and economy continue to recover from the pandemic,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “This budget wisely works to reduce the state’s debt burdens and adds to the state’s rainy-day fund in preparation for future emergencies. It is important that we were able to achieve these goals without raising taxes on hardworking Michigan families.”

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 82, a general omnibus budget that includes:

  • $1.4 billion to lower rates and recruit more childcare workers;
  • $414.5 million to permanently increase wages for direct care workers;
  • $40 million for the Going Pro program to support employee training;
  • $55 million for the Michigan Reconnect program to provide tuition-free community college and training;
  • $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign;
  • $33 million to train new state police troopers and corrections officers;
  • $14.5 million to local governments to remove PFAS from the water;
  • $190 million to repair or replace local bridges; and
  • $19 million to repair or replace local dams.

The bill also deposits $500 million in the state’s rainy-day fund and $150 million in the unemployment trust fund to increase solvency due to fraudulent benefit payments.

Additionally, SB 82 calls for Secretary of State branch offices to open for in-person walk-in services without an advance appointment and includes language that ensures no government entity, department or agency receiving funding will require proof of vaccination to access state services or release an individual’s vaccination status.

“As we continue to move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we work to ensure all Michigan residents maintain access to state services, both online and in-person, and whether they might be vaccinated or unvaccinated,” VanderWall said. “I am proud the Legislature has stood up for the people of Michigan in this regard.”

On Wednesday, VanderWall joined the Senate in approving House Bill 4400, which includes increases for community colleges and public universities and $86 million to reduce university MPSERS obligations — which would build on the $140 million in the already-signed K-12 budget to reduce school unfunded liabilities.

SB 82 and HB 4400 complete the 2022 state budget that began with the July signing of the K-12 budget, which provided a record level of state school funding for the current school year and boosted every school district’s foundation allowance up to at least $8,700 per student.

Both bills have been sent on to the governor for her signature. Michigan’s 2022 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.