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Governor Snyder Expected to Sign Budget

Michigan lawmakers approved a $56.5 billion budget for 2018. (Brian Charles Watson/Flickr)
Michigan lawmakers approved a $56.5 billion budget for 2018. (Brian Charles Watson/Flickr)
July 14, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday is expected to sign the 2018 state budget, a plan that some analysts describe as both promising and concerning.

Rachel Richards, legislative coordinator for the Michigan League for Public Policy, says the $56.5 billion state budget includes a number of measures to help the state's most vulnerable residents.

They include extending the Heat and Eat program and more funding for the Double Up Food Bucks program, both of which increase access to healthy foods.

Richards adds the budget also improves child care assistance by increasing eligibility and raising payments to providers.

"It's an economic engine to allow parents to work, as well as helping employers reduce absenteeism and turnover, as well as providing an early learning environment by increasing access to higher quality care," she points out.

Richards sees continued funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan as another win, although she notes some uncertainty.

About 40 percent of Michigan's budget is federal funding, and programs and services that rely on those dollars could be at risk, based on what happens with the federal budget.

The state budget was balanced in part by extra money in the Unemployment Insurance Penalties and Interest Fund.

Richards says that could be a problem, because the surplus comes from incorrectly assessed fines and penalties from nearly 50,000 people due to a computer glitch.

"So many Michigan residents were wrongfully accused of fraud, and this budget does nothing to make those individuals whole," she explains.

Some people whose wages were garnished are now in court challenging the state.

The new Michigan budget also raises per-pupil spending for schools, increases support for homeless shelters and expands funding to recruit and support foster families.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI