Legislature approves FY 2021 state budget; Plan includes programs to reduce spread of TB in deer

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday finalized a fiscal year 2021 budget plan that balances the state’s deficit and increases investments in important priorities like K-12 education.

“In the face of unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, we worked together to pass a state budget that funds key priorities and balances the deficit — without raising taxes,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland. “This budget increases funding for our K-12 schools, helps fix our roads, protects hardworking taxpayers, is accountable to Michigan families, and helps us build a healthy economy that benefits everyone.”

Senate Bill 927, sponsored by Stamas, is an education omnibus budget featuring a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the FY 2020 budget. It also includes an additional $66 million for growing schools, $37 million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.

House Bill 5396 is a general omnibus budget that increases local revenue sharing and fully funds the 2015 plan to help fix the state’s roads. It includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength, $26 million for the Going Pro program to help train employees, and $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help people complete an associate degree or skills certificate.

The budget invests $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, deposits $35 million in the state’s rainy day fund, and provides $1.5 million for rural jobs and investments.

“We are protecting our seniors in nursing homes from COVID-19 and protecting those who protect us — our local police, firefighters and other first responders,” Stamas said. “Due to the governor’s extended shutdown of our economy, thousands of Michigan residents remain out of work. This budget also makes significant investments to help them get back on their feet.”

HB 5396 also includes $145,800 in additional funding for the Northern Lower Michigan Deer Private Land Assistance Network Program and $505,000 to replace revenue lost through a discounted antlerless deer license in Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties.

“Bovine tuberculosis an ongoing problem in northern Michigan, and it’s largely spread by infected deer,” Stamas said. “In an effort to help reduce the spread of bovine TB by deer in northern Michigan, we’re allowing for the sale of discounted doe permits in the areas most impacted by the disease and supporting partnerships to manage deer habitat on private land to naturally encourage deer away from farm fields and livestock.”

The budget bills now head to the governor for consideration. Michigan’s 2021 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

###

Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.