After rejecting the governor’s proposal to raise new revenue to fix the roads, the Legislature finalized the 2020 budget just days before the beginning of the new budget year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the budget to avert a government shutdown, but included nearly $1 billion in budget vetoes and transferred funds to achieve some of her priorities.
- Children receiving income assistance will be able to receive child support from noncustodial parents. The governor transferred funds to ensure that children receiving Family Independence Program benefits can receive up to $200 per month in child support—money that had been split between the federal government and the state.
- Funding to expand access to healthy foods is increased. The budget includes $1 million for the Double Up Food Bucks program that allows families receiving food assistance to double the value of their benefits on fresh produce at participating farmers markets and grocery stores.
- Funding is included to support the implementation of new Healthy Michigan program work requirements. The health insurance program that provides coverage to approximately 680,000 Michiganders will soon require enrollees to work a minimum of 80 hours per month to keep their coverage. The 2020 budget includes funding to implement the new law and help Healthy Michigan enrollees comply with the new work requirement.
- State investments in the response to lead exposure and other environmental toxins are increased. The budget includes an increase of $3.4 million for lead poisoning prevention and treatment statewide, and an additional $7.3 million to respond to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and other environmental contaminants.
- Per-pupil school payments are increased, along with special education funding. The Legislature rejected larger increases proposed by the governor for students at risk academically, including those in high-poverty schools and students with disabilities. Instead, the final budget includes an increase in per-pupil payments of between $120 and $240, and an additional $60.2 million for special education payments.
- More money is available for literacy coaches to improve third-grade reading. The budget includes $14 million to double the number of literacy coaches statewide. The goal is to improve third-grade reading scores as Michigan’s Read by Grade Three law takes effect—a law that could result in the retention of children in third grade, with a much higher risk for children in high-poverty schools and students of color.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE
- Payments to child care providers are increased, but few families are eligible. The budget includes $15 million for a rate increase for child care providers, but the governor’s proposal to increase the entry income eligibility level was rejected. At 130% of poverty, Michigan has one of the lowest income thresholds for child care subsidies in the country.
- Funding to identify and help infants and toddlers with developmental delays is increased. The budget includes an increase of $2.2 million for the state’s early intervention, Early On.
- The Michigan Tuition Grant is eliminated. The governor vetoed $38 million in financial assistance for students who attend not-for-profit private colleges in Michigan, including many students with low incomes.
- The Indian Tuition Waiver is increased. The budget increases funding for the waiver from $4.2 million to $10.9 million. Funds are used to waive tuition costs for members of federally recognized tribes.
- The language to punish counties with sanctuary policies is vetoed. The governor vetoed budget funding for the County Jail Reimbursement Program because of language added by the Legislature that would disqualify counties from receiving reimbursements if they adopted sanctuary policies.