LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday approved the use of $880 million of Michigan’s federal dollars to help residents and support the safe and sensible reopening of the state.
“The coronavirus outbreak has affected families, schools, local governments and businesses across Michigan,” said Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “State revenues are down, but my colleagues and I in the Legislature are working to use federal funding to help assist shortfalls here in Michigan.”
Senate Bill 690 would provide $880 million in federal funding to assist those harmed by this virus both physically and economically.
The bill includes $100 million to keep Michigan’s small businesses open and residents employed and $43 million for schools to help with the cost of plans to restart school in the fall. The funding can be used to cover current costs of personal protective equipment for staff and help with distance learning costs.
“The Senate is committed to getting Michiganders back to work and ensuring our schools and students are not adversely affected by budget shortfalls,” Bumstead said.
Also included is $15 million to support farms and agricultural processors to make sure our food supply remains safe; $200 million for local governments for public health and safety costs related to COVID-19; $100 million dedicated to hazard pay for local public safety officers who have remained on the job during this crisis; $2.5 million to replenish the Hospitality Employee Fund to help restaurant workers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 closures and may not eligible for unemployment benefits; and $125 million to reduce the cost of child care for families and help child care facilities remain open.
“The federal government has given Michigan more than $3 billion to help combat coronavirus — but the governor has not yet deployed those emergency funds to help Michigan residents,” Bumstead said. “This funding will help our local communities that have been economically hurt by the coronavirus, help people get back on their feet, and provide much-needed resources for those who have risked their well-being as they remained on the front lines battling this pandemic.”
The supplemental also provides funding to address the lackluster response to the coronavirus by the state’s unemployment agency.
The legislation includes language originally introduced by Bumstead to immediately hire additional temporary workers to the Unemployment Insurance Agency in an effort to assist with the massive backlog and poor service. The supplemental now includes $29 million for additional temporary workers.
“The state’s unemployment agency has been overwhelmed, and Michigan residents are unfairly paying the price,” Bumstead said. “The system was not prepared to handle the number of unemployment claims caused by the stay-home orders.”
SB 690 now goes to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for consideration.