For Immediate Release
Sept. 23, 2020
Governor, Legislature craft sound budget to help residents, state weather COVID-19 challenges
Positive investments, improvements include increased funding for child care, adult education, Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies, school funding and increased support for assistance programs
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the 2021 budget passed by the Michigan Legislature today. The bill includes investments in several Michigan League for Public Policy budget priorities in the 2021 state budget. This statement can be attributed to President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“Michigan kids, workers and parents continue to face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, especially families with lower incomes or those struggling with unemployment. But during these tough times, the governor and the Republican-led Legislature rose to the occasion and found a way to invest in some major policy improvements, including many programs and proposals that the Michigan League for Public Policy has been advocating for over many years.”
“As COVID-19 hits our population hard, the need for the state’s vital health and human services programs has been more important than ever. We appreciate policymakers’ understanding of this and the noteworthy increases made to funding for Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan and public assistance programs. There’s a reason these programs are called the ‘safety net’—and that they have been a cornerstone of the League’s work since 1912—and we appreciate the role they have played in helping working families get by and bounce back during these trying times.
“Child care remains a key to child development and a strong workforce, but costs continue to be out of reach for too many families. Today’s budget increases the income eligibility level for the state’s child care subsidy, helping more families find affordable care, and we hope to continue to see bipartisan support for other investments in this area.
“Before COVID-19 hit and turned our worlds and state budget upside down, the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative was a focal point of the League’s budget advocacy and analysis, and the major investment today to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months will dramatically improve the health of moms and babies. This program will also help reduce maternal and infant mortality, and the disparate outcomes in those categories by race.
“The League is happy to see the 10 Cents a Meal program expanded statewide. This positive program that connects Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables with the state’s school meal programs is a win-win, and it is especially needed in Southeast Michigan, where food insecurity is particularly high and access to fresh produce continues to be a challenge.
“As COVID-19 continues to impact the job market, Michigan’s older and less skilled workers are being hit particularly hard. They need to go back to school or get training to better prepare for the new job market and earn more money, but the cost of doing so continues to be a huge barrier. Several investments in today’s budget will help make adult education more accessible, including funding for Going Pro, Michigan Reconnect and the Tuition Grant program.
“And after years of advocacy, Michigan’s longstanding lifetime ban on food assistance for individuals with more than one drug felony has finally been stricken from the Department of Health and Human Services boilerplate language. This is a huge win that will make it easier for justice-involved individuals to access food, improving food security, racial equity and disability inclusion while reducing recidivism. We appreciate the bipartisan support for this—and for also working to address this issue permanently with Senate Bill 1006.”
A lot of these issues were included in the League’s 2021 budget priorities as well as its Owner’s Manual for Michigan public policy agenda. The League’s Right Start 2020 report on maternal and infant health lifted the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program up as a key policy recommendation. And the League continues to be an advocate for the defense, improvement, and expansion of important state and federal assistance programs, including helping justice-involved residents get food access.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.