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Bizon votes for 2022 state budget, secures local funding

LANSING, Mich. Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Tuesday voted to support a fiscal year 2022 general budget plan focused on increasing investments to support Michigan families and build up a healthy economy that benefits everyone.

“I was happy to be able to support this bipartisan budget that prioritizes Michigan families and workers as they continue to recover from the shutdowns of the pandemic,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Our ability to pass a balanced and fiscally responsible budget that provides for these important priorities, works to pay down debt and sets aside funds for future emergencies without raising additional tax burdens on Michigan residents is good for the future economic health of our state.”

Bizon said the 2022 state budget includes $23.8 million for the Michigan Career and Technical Institute in Barry County to fund desperately needed capital improvements to continue in its mission to prepare students with disabilities to enter the workforce with vocational-technical training programs and post-secondary certificates; $14.3 million in High Water Infrastructure Grants for local governments to address immediate high-water infrastructure needs; $300,000 for the IBM/Kalamazoo Reentry Services Pilot Project; and $1.4 million for the Judicial Tenure Commission that includes funding for one permanent attorney and one temporary attorney to help eliminate a backlog of citizen complaints and help ensure judicial accountability.

Senate Bill 82 is the general omnibus budget and features:

  • $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.

Bizon said the $21.1 million in funding for new corrections officer training will allow for the training of up to 800 new corrections officers ­— 280 more than previous years. Additionally, $2 million will support wellness programming designed to assist prison staff and their families with the stresses that come with working in a prison.“Serving a district that is home to four of the state’s correctional facilities, I am very aware of the important need to provide training and wellness that supports our officers and their families. I am happy to see that this budget support that priority,” Bizon said.

Ionia County and the cities of Portland and Belding will receive the $58,400 remainder of disaster relief funding to cover costs incurred from the 2019 Portland ice jam flooding event. The communities were allocated most of the $163,625 designated relief funds in the 2020 state budget.

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.

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.

On Wednesday, Bizon 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.

Following approval by both legislative chambers, the bills will be sent to the governor for her signature. Michigan’s 2022 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.