Reports


Michigan Legislature will soon make final decisions on 2019 state budget

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The Michigan Senate and House have both passed their versions of the 2019 state budget and joint House/Senate conference committees will now meet to iron out differences between the budgets. Contact your legislators and let them know what matters to you, your children, your neighbors and your community. The League is advocating for the state’s children and families, and has summarized the differences between the House and State budgets. Here are some highlights.

human services HUMAN SERVICES

  • No increases for children living in deep poverty: The governor increased income assistance grants for children by only $2 per person per month—after decades of flat funding—but the Senate and House rejected even that small increase.
  • Continuation of the “heat and eat” policy: Both the House and Senate budgets continued the “heat and eat” policy that provides needed nutrition to families with low incomes, seniors and the disabled.
 health HEALTH

  • Limits on healthcare coverage for persons with low incomes: The Senate included a 48-month limit on Healthy Michigan Plan coverage, removed $60 million intended for premium assistance payments, and included penalties if the state doesn’t adopt Medicaid work requirements.
  • Disagreed on new funding for local public health initiatives: The Senate rejected expanded funding to local public health departments to address emerging public health threats.
 education EDUCATION

  • Significant increase in funding for child care: Recognizing $65 million in new federal funding coming to Michigan, the Senate increased eligibility for child care subsidies, changed the way providers are paid, and increased rates for some child care providers.
  • State funding for early intervention: Both the House and Senate budgets included state funding for Early On, the state’s early intervention program. If passed, this would be the first time the state has dedicated funds to the program.
  • More funding for adult education: The Senate increased statewide adult education by $1 million.
 higher education  HIGHER EDUCATION

  • Continued shifting of dollars intended for K-12 education to universities and colleges: The League supports generous funding for postsecondary education, but not at the expense of K-12 education. The shifting of funds started in very tight budget years, but is continued in both the House and Senate budgets.
  • Underfunding of student financial aid programs: Both the House and Senate included small increases in funding for the Tuition Incentive Program, but there is still no funding for grants for older students.
 corrections  CORRECTIONS

  • The prison population is dropping, but more needs to be done to help people make the transition back to the community: Mass incarceration in Michigan has disproportionately affected families of color and is often based in systemic discrimination that has limited economic opportunity. The House and Senate included only minor increases in incarceration alternatives and education and job training for prisoners.

New Federal Tax Plan amplifies inequalities

pdficon                   May 2018
Spike Dearing, Intern
New Fed Tax Plan_Spike chart 1
New Fed Tax Plan_Spike chart 2

The looming danger of tax cut triggers in Michigan

pdficon May 2018
 Vikki Crouse, State Policy Fellow

INTRODUCTION

2015 Income Tax Trigger chart 1Three years ago, policymakers in Lansing passed a package of bills that promised to address Michigan’s crumbling roads. One of the most significant yet largely overlooked changes included in the package was a personal income tax cut set to trigger almost a decade later in 2023. Under the law, if General Fund revenues grow by more than the rate of inflation in a given year, the rate of the income tax will be reduced. The tax rate cut will also be eligible to trigger every year thereafter until the personal income tax rate is reduced to zero.1 A 0.1% rate cut eliminates roughly $250 million in tax revenue on a full year basis. As Michigan’s economy enters its tenth year of recovery from the Great Recession, one thing is clear: our economy is not prepared to weather another round of tax cuts. Incremental cuts to the state income tax would eventually eliminate a funding stream worth about $10 billion and put a significant strain on the state’s ability to fund schools, roads, safety net programs and public safety.2 It is not too late for policymakers to reverse their decision; it is the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do.

This brief explains why income tax cut triggers are the wrong choice for Michigan for four primary reasons:3

  • Policymakers do not have enough information to know if they are affordable.
  • They can trigger during economic downturns or other times when revenues are badly needed.
  • They primarily benefit the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • They enable policymakers to claim credit for cutting taxes while avoiding accountability for the consequences.

BACKGROUND

Put simply, income tax revenue is a vital lifeline for the state’s General Fund. It is estimated to contribute 69.1% of the total revenue for General Fund/General Purpose funding in FY 2017-18, and 22% of the total revenue for the School Aid Fund in the same period.4 Making up the majority of General Fund/General Purpose funding, income tax revenue helps pay for important services like healthcare, higher education, public safety, preschool and other vital human services. Despite its important role, General Fund growth rates have not kept up with the rate of inflation. Between budget year 2000 and anticipated budget year 2019, inflation increased by 73% while General Fund revenues are actually down about 1%.5 By 2020, the General Fund will be below 1968 levels when adjusted for inflation; 1968 was the year the income tax was enacted.6 During this time, the cost of services will continue to grow due to growth in the overall population and in groups, such as students and the elderly, who tend to use more state services.

A consistently flat state budget has been partially a result of tax cuts and earmarked tax revenues that state legislators have made in recent years. Among these are the Personal Property Tax reform passed in 2014 and the road funding package passed in 2015, both of which will squeeze hundreds of millions in funding from the General Fund. Overall, the state has spent more in state and local tax credits, deductions and exemptions than it has in total budget spending from state and general restricted funds over the past several years. These commitments cost state and local governments approximately $39.87 billion in FY 2018, and they will further constrain General Fund revenue growth in the years to come.7 The consequence of these tax cuts is that the State has less money to expend on important state services that Michiganders depend on.

Despite the strains that our state budget is enduring, there are legislators who continue to champion new tax cuts as an economic development strategy that will transform our economy. But the evidence of tax cuts in Michigan tell a different story. Business tax cuts passed in 2011, for example, did not serve as a catalyst for job creation. In fact, job growth actually slowed in the years immediately following the tax cuts.8 Meanwhile, legislators tried to make up for lost revenue from the tax cuts by cutting K-12 per-pupil funding and funding to higher education institutions, among other services.9

Michigan has also grown more reliant on federal funds to support services like early childhood education, health care and safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the past several years. Over the past decade, our total budget grew by 29.8%, federal funds appropriated in our state budget grew by 57.8% during the same period, while state spending from state resources only grew by 13.3%.10 Today, federal revenues contribute about $23 billion, or over 40%, of our state budget.11 The Trump administration’s determination to cut funding for important public programs, is a warning to state legislators who hope to erode tax revenue through income tax cuts. Michigan would lose millions in federal funding if President Trump makes good on his promises, and without additional state revenue, this would likely lead to devastating cuts to important programs.

A DECADE AFTER THE GREAT RECESSION, MICHIGAN’S ECONOMY IS STILL RECOVERING

Looming income tax cuts also come at a time when Michigan is in its tenth year of recovery from the Great Recession. While the state has made great strides, Michigan’s GDP is growing at a slower rate than it did in previous recoveries (inflation-adjusted GDP is growing at a 2.2%, whereas historically the economy has grown at a 4.4% rate).12 Furthermore, while in previous recoveries government spending increased to meet needs, spending has declined in the current economic recovery.13 This hasn’t been good for important services like K-12 schools, safety net programs and higher education institutions, which experienced significant funding cuts in the years after the recession. In the workforce, though Michigan’s unemployment rate has declined since its peak during the recession, part of the decline has been due to the number of workers leaving the labor force.14

In fact, labor force participation tells the long-term story of Michigan’s economy. For a number of years, labor force participation rates have stagnated, meaning that a smaller number of Michiganders are working or looking for work.15 Overall, Michigan has lost 326,000 workers since 2000, which still exceeds the number of currently unemployed individuals who are looking for work (227,000).16 When it comes to wages, low- and middle-income workers have seen declining real hourly wages since 1979.17 Inflation-adjusted hourly earnings increased a mere 1.2% in 2016, down from a 2.1% increase in 2015.18 Stagnating wages for workers mean that more families have a harder time meeting basic needs as the costs of goods and services continue to rise, and can more easily slip into poverty, hurting our economy overall. It’s clear that though our state has made strides since the recession, the economy is still recovering and legislators will do more harm than good if they allow income tax cuts to trigger in the coming years.

2015 Income Tax Trigger chart 2

INCOME TAX TRIGGERS ARE THE WRONG CHOICE FOR MICHIGAN

We don’t know if the tax rate reductions are affordable. When tax cuts are enacted several years before they take place, it is virtually impossible to determine whether the state can afford to make such cuts. We do not know if we will be facing another economic recession in the next couple of years, or if a crisis will arise in the state that will require significant investments from the government. Even though the trigger requires that revenues rise above inflation before the cuts are considered affordable for the state, this mechanism does not take into account the additional revenue needed to maintain current level funding for services. Absent multi-year projected revenues, legislators simply do not have enough information to responsibly implement the tax cut.

Triggered Income Tax cuts are not good for Michigan’s economy. Some individuals argue that triggered tax cuts serve as an economic development strategy because they give businesses and individuals time to make investment decisions based on tax cuts set to take place in the near future. Evidence, however, shows that taxes do not actually play a significant role in driving decisions by households about where to settle down. Individuals are more likely to make living decisions based on factors like family, job opportunities, cost of housing and weather.20 Furthermore, only a small fraction of the general population are actual business owners who would be the ones making significant capital investment decisions based on state taxes.

Triggered tax cuts are simply not an economic development strategy, and in fact, have shown to be quite the opposite because they can trigger during times of economic downturns when revenues are needed the most. This is what happened in Oklahoma, where legislators stubbornly held onto triggered tax cuts even after the first rate cut was suspended due to low levels of revenue in 2010. The tax cut eventually took place in 2012, even though state revenues had not yet recovered from the recession. In 2016, another triggered tax cut went into effect (this time lowering the top tax rate) amid an economic downturn caused by falling oil prices. The result? State legislators were left with a budget hole of nearly $900 billion.21 Since then, state legislators have been trying to repeal the tax cuts. Oklahoma should serve a cautionary tale for Michigan legislators who continue to believe that this flawed approach will spur economic development.

The tax cuts are not equitable. In addition to being a fiscally dangerous move for our state, triggered tax rate cuts will not be felt equally among all of Michigan’s residents. The tax cuts are set to primarily benefit the top 1% of taxpayers. Meanwhile, Michigan’s middle- and lower-income families will be left to deal with worsening roads, underfunded schools and fewer services. New analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) uses current year and two-year forecasts to calculate the impact that a 0.1 or 0.25 rate reduction in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) could have on taxpayers and state revenue. The data shows that any reduction in the PIT actually shifts the tax load further to low-income Michiganders. Under a 0.1 rate reduction in the PIT, 99% of the top 1% of taxpayers would receive a tax cut while only 58% of those in the lowest 20% of taxpayers would see their tax contributions reduced. Additionally, Michigan’s taxpayers would receive only a small annual benefit, which for many would be barely noticeable as it is spread over paychecks.

2015 Income Tax Trigger chart 3

 

Triggered tax cuts enable policymakers to claim credit for cutting taxes while avoiding accountability for consequences. There are no practical benefits for scheduling income tax cuts so far in advance. There were also no logistical issues that would have prevented legislators from implementing the tax cut right away. So why did legislators choose to wait? The reality is, legislators who championed triggered tax cuts several years ago when the law was passed did so because they knew they were unaffordable at the time. Implementing then in 2015 would have likely forced cuts to state services in order to balance the budget—a politically unpopular move. Legislators chose this route because they knew they wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences when cuts did take effect. By 2023, when the first income tax rate cut will be eligible to trigger, many of the legislators who passed the legislation will be long gone. This should set off alarm bells for Michigan taxpayers who will be left to deal with the aftermath.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Repeal triggered tax cuts. Legislators must now do the fiscally responsible thing and repeal the triggered income tax cuts that were passed into law in 2015. If triggered in 2023, these tax cuts will only hold Michigan’s economy and its residents back. If left in place, the cuts will significantly erode revenue available to fund important programs and services. Moreover, state revenues will never be able to return to previous levels because any minimal rise in revenue will only trigger another rate cut. Essentially, we will be digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper fiscal hole.
  • Adopt a fair income tax structure. If our legislators truly want to help all Michiganders thrive, one of the things they can do is implement a graduated income tax structure that would ensure that low- and middle-income taxpayers don’t pay a greater share of their incomes in taxes than the wealthiest taxpayers. Currently, Michigan is only one of eight states in the country that still relies on a flat income tax structure. A graduated tax structure would also help generate additional revenue needed for investing in our schools, our communities and our roads.
  • Restore tax credits that support low- and middle-income Michiganders, and help our economy grow. In 2011, legislators reduced the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by 70%. In doing so, they virtually eliminated one of the most effective strategies for supporting working families struggling to make ends meet. Research shows that cutting low-income tax credits is not good for our economy because it makes it more difficult to develop a highly skilled workforce. Unlike an inequitable tax cut that delivers only a token benefit to low- and middle-income taxpayers, a fully restored EITC would deliver real and significant benefits to help Michiganders thrive.

The Looming Danger-Tax Cut Triggers Notes

 

 

League advocates for prioritization of programs that protect Michiganders’ health

pdficon             Budget Brief JPG USE THIS ONE                   May 2018
Emily Schwarzkopf, Policy Analyst

BB-League advocates for Prioritization_2019 hlth bdgt chart 1While legislators have been focused on the debate surrounding Medicaid work requirements, they have also been busy debating the state’s budget. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is one of the largest state departments and is responsible for the health and safety of Michigan residents—in particular the state’s mental health system, public health, and Medicaid. Moving through the budget process, we at the League hope that the legislature will prioritize programs that improve the health of Michigan residents—instead of pursuing political policies that may end up harming people, especially those currently enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Program.

HEALTHY MICHIGAN

  • Governor: In his budget proposal, the governor continued financial support for the Healthy Michigan program. Implemented in 2014, Healthy Michigan (Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program) extended healthcare to over 670,000 Michiganders with low incomes. The Healthy Michigan Plan has been positive for our state economy, hospitals, and most importantly those enrolled in the program. Currently, the federal government pays 93% of the costs of the Healthy Michigan Plan. For the 2019 budget year, the governor provided the state General Fund dollars needed to fully fund the program.
  • Senate: While the Senate continued to support the program in concept, it removed $60 million intended to be used for premium assistance payments. Beginning April 1, 2018 enrollees above 100% of the federal poverty line who do not comply with healthy behavior requirements (outlined in PA 107 of 2013) must enroll in Medicaid coverage through the federal exchange, with the state Medicaid financing requirements still applying. Corresponding budget language would require the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a waiver to the federal government prohibiting Healthy Michigan funding from being used to support Medicaid coverage or premium assistance on the federal health care exchange. Essentially, this language would cap the amount of time an individual could be insured through Healthy Michigan to 48 months, and states that completion of a healthy behavior requirement does not qualify an enrollee for continued enrollment. There is some question whether this language is legal.
  • House: The House continued support for the Healthy Michigan Plan, but does remove $1.7 million to discontinue gift cards given to Healthy Michigan enrollees above 100% of the federal poverty level for completing a health risk assessment.

PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTMENTS

  • Governor: With the ongoing Flint water crisis, a hepatitis A outbreak, and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) water contamination, the governor recommended full-year funding for PFAS cleanup and additional funding to local public health departments to help address emergency health threats including vapor intrusion, drinking water contamination and hepatitis C.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on PFAS needs including laboratory capacity, environmental health toxicology and response. The Senate does not include funding for local health department response grants intended to expand local public health support for other emerging public health threats.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor.

WAGE INCREASES AT STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS

  • Governor: Psychiatrists at our state psychiatric hospitals are paid significantly less than our Great Lakes neighbors, and the MDHHS—with the approval of the Civil Service Commission—has proposed an increase in wages. The investment, which is included in the governor’s 2019 budget, is expected to cost the state $1.4 million. This wage increase will allow the state to attract and retain high-quality psychiatrists and reduce waiting lists at the hospitals.
  • Senate: The Senate concurred with the governor on salary increases.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor.

FLINT WATER CRISIS FUNDING CONTINUES

  • Governor: As Flint continues to deal with the effects of the ongoing water crisis, the governor reduced MDHHS assistance by $16.9 million but provided one-time funding for food and nutrition services, health services at child and adolescent health centers and schools, lead poisoning prevention and lead abatement.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor.
  • House: The House concurred with the Executive, but uses prior year funding to support the one-time $2.9 million General Fund increase.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INTEGRATION

  • Governor: A hot topic during the past few budget cycles was the integration of behavioral health and physical health proposed by the governor through budget boilerplate language. The 2019 budget encourages the department to continue pursuing the pilot projects it was directed to take on this year. The MDHHS identified the pilot sites in March: Muskegon County Community Mental Health and West Michigan Community Mental Health, Genesee Health System, and Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority. The Department continues to work on implementation of these pilot projects.
  • Senate: The Senate concurred with the governor but changed pilot design from two to three years and created new language that allows health plans to contract directly with service providers in the pilot project areas.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor and retained language regarding legislative intent and sharing of performance metrics.

LEAD PREVENTION BOARD

  • Governor: In 2016, the governor created the Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board, which was charged with designing a long-term strategy to eliminate child lead poisoning. For 2019, the governor includes $1.25 million to carry out the recommendations of the board, including expanded home testing, a statewide database and a requirement to test all children for lead exposure.
  • Senate: Senate concurred with the governor.
  • House: The House reduced funding by half to $625,000.

MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS

  • Governor: The governor did not include budget language regarding Medicaid work requirements.
  • Senate: The Senate included punitive language that would withhold salaries for certain department staff—25% until the waiver proposed in SB 897 is submitted, and another 25% until the waiver is approved by the federal government.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor.

 

U.S. House Farm Bill goes in the wrong direction with SNAP work requirements

pdficon                   May 2018
Peter Ruark, Senior Policy Analyst

What are the proposed work requirements? The chair’s plan would require all SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants age 18-59 who are not disabled or raising a child under 6 to prove every month that they are working and/or participating in a work program at least 20 hours per week. Those who cannot comply would face harsh sanctions:

  • US Farm Bill goes in wrong direction with SNAP work requirements chart 1The first failure would result in a loss of benefits for 12 months.
  • Each subsequent failure would lock individuals out of SNAP for 36 months.
  • Individuals could only regain eligibility by working at least 20 hours per week for a month, or requalify through an exemption such as disability.

US Farm Bill goes in wrong direction with SNAP work requirements chart 2 rev

US Farm Bill goes in wrong direction with SNAP work requirements chart 3

US Farm Bill goes in wrong direction with SNAP work requirements chart 4

 

 

House and Senate human services budgets do little to address childhood poverty

pdficon             Budget Brief JPG USE THIS ONE                   May 2018
Pat Sorenson, Senior Policy Analyst

House_Senate Human Srvcs chart 1Both the Michigan Senate and House have approved budget bills for 2019 that do little to address continuing high levels of poverty for children and their families. While unemployment has fallen statewide, more than half of the state’s African-American children live in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment, along with 40% of Latinx children. For many families, the only jobs available are low-wage and lack benefits, leaving parents struggling to make ends meet.

The result has been stubbornly high rates of poverty, affecting one of every five children in Michigan. Children of color are two to three times more likely to live in poverty, including 42% of African-American children and 30% of Latinx children—compared to 15% of White children.

Differences in economic security and opportunity are at the core of racial and ethnic inequities for children of color in Michigan. Those inequities stem from longstanding systemic barriers to economic security including housing discrimination, the historical impact of redlining on homeownership, differences in educational quality and opportunity, racial discrimination in the workplace, and inequities in the ability to accumulate assets and wealth. While steeped in a history of discrimination, many racial and ethnic inequities persist today because federal and state budgets do not provide the resources needed to overcome them.

The children of parents who find they must turn to public income assistance live in very deep poverty because public investments in income assistance programs have fallen dramatically. With tightened eligibility and limited benefits—including strict lifetime limits and the failure to update public assistance grant levels for decades—children whose parents have not yet benefited from overall economic improvements are often placed at risk.

The impact of a childhood lived in poverty is well documented. Children are more likely to have poor nutrition; live in homes and neighborhoods where they are exposed to environmental toxins; have untreated health conditions; and move frequently, making it difficult to continue their educations uninterrupted. In addition, children without adequate income supports are less likely to have the educational and enrichment activities needed in the earliest years of life to help prepare them for success in school. The loss of potential for so many of the state’s children is unacceptable in both human and economic terms.

FOOD ASSISTANCE

Families Receiving Food Assistance

  • Governor: The governor’s 2019 budget assumes that the food assistance caseload will fall 20% from the level appropriated for the current year (from 854,072 to 683,950) for a reduction of $415 million in federal funding. After peaking in 2011 at 967,566, the number of families receiving assistance has dropped, falling to 691,259 in February of 2018. A total of 522,479 of all persons receiving assistance that month were children, representing 40% of all food assistance recipients. The drop in cases is attributed to an improving economy, along with policy changes such as the state’s adoption of an asset test for food assistance—a decision the League opposed.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor.

Heat and Eat Policy

  • Governor: The governor continued the “heat and eat” policy that provides additional food assistance to nearly 340,000 Michigan residents with low incomes. In 2017, 1.4 million people in the state used food assistance, including approximately 1 in 4 of the state’s children. African-American and Latinx children are more likely to face food shortages.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor, continuing the “heat and eat” policy.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor, continuing the “heat and eat” policy.

House_Senate Human Srvcs chart 2INCOME ASSISTANCE

Families Receiving Income Assistance

  • Governor: The number of families eligible for and receiving income assistance through the state’s Family Independence Program (FIP) has dropped dramatically in Michigan and is now lower than it was in the late 1950s. For the 2019 budget year, the governor projects that FIP caseloads will continue to fall to under 18,000 statewide. Of great concern is the reality that nearly 8 of every 10 recipients of income assistance through FIP are children. Despite continuing high levels of childhood poverty, the number of children receiving support has dropped sharply.

State policies, including the adoption of very strict lifetime limits on assistance, and the imposition of sanctions on entire families when a single child is truant from school, have fueled the caseload decline. The governor proposed no changes in state policy to reverse this trend.

  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor.

Income Assistance Grants

  • Governor: The governor recommended a small inflationary increase in FIP grants. FIP grants have been essentially flat since 1996, and as a result their purchasing power fell from 42% of poverty to only 29%. The governor recognized savings of $2.2 million in FIP because of declining caseloads, and used less than half of that money for a 1.2% increase in FIP grants. This $1 million investment would increase the maximum monthly benefit from $492 to $498 and equate to an additional $2 per person per month. After two years of unsuccessful proposals to increase the school clothing allowance provided to FIP families every fall, the governor did not recommend a boost in 2019.
  • Senate: The Senate rejected the FIP increase proposed by the governor and did not recommend increases in the FIP school clothing allowance. The Senate included a placeholder for further discussion of potential increases in the daily rate paid to homeless shelters.
  • House: The House included a $100 placeholder in the budget to allow for further discussion of the governor’s proposed FIP grant increase in the joint House/Senate conference committee, and also did not recommend increases in the school clothing allowance. The House also included a placeholder for further discussion of a three-year pilot to provide rental assistance and support to persons with behavioral health and housing needs.

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

Foster Care/Out-of-Home Placements

  • Governor: After being sued by a national children’s rights organization for failures in its child welfare system related to high caseloads for workers and delays in finding permanent homes for children, Michigan has increased its spending on protective services and foster care. For 2019, the governor recommended an increase of $36.5 million for foster care, based on an expected increase in foster care cases next year (from 5,800 cases to 6,620), as well as an increase in the average annual cost of foster care (from $31,643 to $33,244). Overall, foster care caseloads have been declining since 2009, even as costs have increased—partly because rates for private child welfare agencies have increased to help meet the staffing requirements set in the lawsuit’s settlement agreement.

The governor projected a small decline in adoption subsidy cases (from 23,406 to 22,791) for a cut in funding of $5.7 million, and eliminated funding for the Parent-to-Parent program that facilitates peer coaching between adoptive parents. Adoption subsidies include financial and medical supports for families who adopt children with special needs.

In addition, the governor increased the county Child Care Fund by $10 million. The county Child Care Fund includes funds the state provides to counties to help cover the costs of serving delinquent, neglected and abused youths.

  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on the $5.7 million reduction in adoption subsidy payments, but cut the governor’s increases for foster care and the Child Care Fund in half. The Senate retained funding for the Parent-to-Parent mentoring program.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor on projected foster care, adoption subsidy, and Child Care Fund costs, and included a placeholder for the Parent-to-Parent program.

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention & Family Preservation

  • Governor: The governor provided no new funding for prevention and family preservation services in 2019, but authorized the Children’s Trust Fund to spend $800,000 in restricted funding for local prevention services and grants. Funding for services to prevent child abuse and neglect and to preserve families has been inadequate in Michigan. In 2006, Michigan spent over $65 million on family preservation and prevention services and had fewer than 29,000 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect. For the upcoming fiscal year, the governor proposes to spend approximately $51 million—despite an increase in the number of confirmed victims to nearly 40,000.
  • Senate: The Senate included $1 million in federal funding to increase reimbursement rates for the Family Support Subsidy, which helps families with children with severe disabilities. The Senate also included new budget language requiring DHHS to redraft two health education curriculum modules to include information about the importance of consent, setting and respecting personal boundaries and the prevention of child sexual abuse.
  • House: The House included an additional $200,000 in state General Fund dollars for the Children’s Trust Fund, with the requirement that half be spent on grants addressing substance use disorders. The House also included a $750,000 increase in state funds for runaway and homeless youth services, bringing total funding to $16.1 million.

House_Senate Human Srvcs chart 3

 

Adequate funding needed to make postsecondary education more accessible

pdficon                 Budget Brief JPG USE THIS ONE                   May 2018
Peter Ruark, Senior Policy Analyst

BB Adequate funding needed postsecondary ed chart 1Michigan’s public postsecondary institutions receive state funding through two separate budgets: the Community Colleges budget and the Higher Education (university) budget. Because community colleges and universities are constitutionally independent, there is not a state-level agency or department with policymaking authority over these institutions, and these budgets are the vehicle through which state policy is applied.

One policy initiative of the appropriations committees in recent years has been to keep tuition increases down through use of “tuition restraint.” Universities and community colleges set their own tuition rates, but because university tuition has increased dramatically over the past 15 years (due in part to decreasing state support), funding increases to each university are contingent on whether the university plans to keep the upcoming year’s tuition increase below a specific threshold. The League supports this intervention by the Legislature to temper tuition increases, but urges the Legislature to go further and replace a greater share of the funding cut from universities over the years in exchange for tuition reduction rather than just tuition restraint.

The two budgets are also where financial aid funding and benefit levels are determined. Traditionally, this has been done through the higher education budget even though most aid programs have been available to community college students as well. One exception in recent years has been the Part-Time Independent Student Grant, which was discontinued in 2009, leaving students who have been out of high school 10 years or more with no state financial aid. For two years, reinstatement of the grant was included in the community colleges budget with the stipulation that it could be used only at community colleges. Unfortunately, in both years the Legislature stripped out funding for the grant before the appropriations bills were sent to the governor.

There are two streams of funding for postsecondary education that are controversial. One is the School Aid Fund, whose primary purpose is to fund K-12 education. The practice of pulling dollars from this fund and putting them in the operations budgets for universities and community colleges started in the 2000s during a couple of very tight budget years, and became regular practice beginning in the 2012 budget year. During annual appropriations hearings for the two budgets, legislators raise objections and sometimes introduce amendments to return the money meant for K-12 back to K-12, but the practice continues. The League supports generous funding for community colleges and universities from the General Fund, but believes that School Aid Funding should be used for its original intent and not be “raided” for postsecondary education.

Another controversial funding stream for postsecondary education is the use of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars for college financial aid. Currently, TANF dollars fully fund the Tuition Incentive Program, which targets Medicaid-eligible students, and provide the bulk of funding for the two other aid programs, which serve students from families across the economic spectrum. While it makes sense to use TANF to fund financial aid for students from families with low incomes, the League believes that aid to students from middle-class and higher-income families should come from the General Fund rather than TANF.

FINANCIAL AID

Governor:

  • The governor did not include funding to reinstate the Part-Time Independent Student Grant.
  • The governor recommended a $1.5 million increase for the Tuition Incentive Program, for a total of $59.8 million expected to assist approximately 22,000 students in the upcoming school year.
  • The governor raised the maximum Tuition Grant award slightly (from $2,000 to $2,100) while the maximum Competitive Scholarship award remains flat ($1,000). Despite the increase in the Tuition Grant, the governor’s budget adds $6 million to the Competitive Scholarship and decreases the Tuition Grant funding level by the same amount, due to higher expected participation in the latter and lower in the former.
  • The Governor added $1.5 million in TANF dollars to cover the increase in funding for the Tuition Incentive Program, for a total of $109.8 million (14%) of Michigan’s TANF allocation that is used for financial aid.

Senate:

  • The Senate did not include funding for the Part-Time Independent Student Grant.
  • The Senate included the governor’s $1.5 million increase for the Tuition Incentive Program.
  • The Senate raised the maximum Tuition Grant award from $2,000 to $2,400 while the maximum Competitive Scholarship award remains flat ($1,000). The Committee includes the governor’s $6 million for the Competitive Scholarship, but does not decrease funding for the Tuition Grant.
  • The Senate adds $7.5 million in TANF dollars to cover the increase in funding for the Tuition Incentive Program and Competitive Scholarship, for a total of $115.8 million (15%) of Michigan’s TANF allocation that is used for financial aid.

House:

  • The House did not include funding for the Part-Time Independent Student Grant.
  • The House included the governor’s $1.5 million increase for the Tuition Incentive Program.
  • The House raised the maximum Tuition Grant award from $2,000 to $2,300 while the maximum Competitive Scholarship award remains flat ($1,000). The House includes the governor’s $6 million for the Competitive Scholarship, but does not decrease funding for the Tuition Grant.
  • The House adds $7.5 million in TANF dollars to cover the increase in funding for the Tuition Incentive Program and Competitive Scholarship, for a total of $115.8 million (15%) of Michigan’s TANF allocation that is used for financial aid.

OPERATIONS FUNDING AND RETIREMENT COSTS FROM THE SCHOOL AID FUND (SAF)

  • Governor: The governor’s budget completely funds community college operations and the community colleges’ Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) allocation with $405 million pulled from the School Aid Fund intended for K-12 public schools, using no General Fund dollars for either operations or retirement. The governor’s budget also pulls $385 million from the School Aid Fund to fund a portion of public university operations and MPSERS, for a total of $790.6 million diverted from K-12 to postsecondary education.
  • Senate: The Senate funds community college operations and MPSERS with $405 million pulled from the School Aid Fund, and adds $3.19 million in General Fund dollars for operations. The Senate concurs with the governor in pulling $385 million from the School Aid Fund to fund a portion of public university operations and MPSERS, for a total of $790.6 million diverted from K-12 to postsecondary education.
  • House: The House completely funds community colleges operations and MPSERS with $408.2 million pulled from the School Aid Fund, an increase of $3.19 million in SAF for operations over the governor’s amount. The House concurs with the governor in pulling $385 million from the School Aid Fund to fund a portion of public university operations and MPSERS, for a total of $793.8 million diverted from K-12 to postsecondary education.

TUITION RESTRAINT

  • Governor: The governor set the maximum for tuition increases over the previous year at 3.8% or $490, whichever is greater. The tuition restraint level for the current year is 3.8% or $475, whichever is greater.
  • Senate: The Senate concurred with the governor’s tuition restraint level.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s tuition restraint level.

 

SB 897: Medicaid work requirements

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SB 897 - Medicaid work requirements

Prison population dropping, but need for services remains high

pdficon                 Budget Brief JPG USE THIS ONE                   May 2018
Vikki Crouse, State Policy Fellow

2019 corrections budgetAfter peaking in 2006, the prisoner population in Michigan has been declining, dropping below 40,000 for the first time in over 20 years. Despite the decline, the Department of Corrections has seen a need for higher investment in services and programs in part because more prisoners are aging and require additional health care treatment. The Department of Corrections budget is almost entirely funded with state General Fund dollars, and total spending is expected to remain at approximately $2 billion in 2019. Approximately $1.6 billion or roughly 80% of the Corrections budget is allocated to prisoner housing, physical and mental healthcare, food, transportation and treatment programs, and vocational programs for prisoners.1

BACKGROUND

Mass incarceration has been proven to disproportionately affect the well-being of families of color.2 The impact is two-generational: Black and brown individuals, especially cisgender men and transgender men and women, are often targeted in community policing practices, and are more likely to receive harsher sentences and spend more time in prison than their white counterparts. Their arrests and subsequent imprisonment can mean long-term separation from family members and harmful consequences for their children’s health and mental well-being.

Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to experience poverty, drop out of school, have anxiety, be diagnosed with depression or ADHD and have behavioral issues, among other outcomes.3 A vision to end mass incarceration in Michigan must therefore also be a vision to undo systemic racism in the criminal justice system. In the Department of Corrections, appropriate investments in rehabilitation programs, mental health services and alternatives to prison for individuals are some of the ways policymakers can help move us toward progress.

PRISON OPERATIONS

  • Governor: The governor funded prison operations at a total of approximately $1.08 billion spread across the state’s 28 prison facilities and including regional support systems for those facilities.
  • Senate: The Senate proposed $1.06 billion in funding for prison operations.
  • House: The House proposed approximately $1.07 billion in funding for prison operations.

Michigans prison population chartPrison Food Services

  • Governor: The governor retained current year funding for prison food services, and recommended an additional $13.7 million General Fund dollars as well as the authorization of 352 state employee positions to move food service operations in-house. This would end the privatization of the services following a range of highly publicized failures by contractors.
  • Senate: Though the Senate concurred with the governor’s decision to move prison food services in-house, the Senate disagreed with the governor’s one-time funding recommendation and did not recommend funding for the transition. However, the Senate did recommend authorizing 352 state employee positions. In addition, the Senate recommended $50,000 in new funding for prison kitchen inspections. The Senate also recommended $2 million in new funding for an enhanced food technology program, among other things, would provide on-site training in kitchen prisons for up to 1,000 prisoners annually.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s funding recommendation to move food service operations back under the control of state employees.

INCARCERATION ALTERNATIVES

Residential Alternative to Prison Program

  • Governor: The governor maintained $1.5 million for the Residential Alternative to Prison program, which expanded to counties in west Michigan last year. The program provides vocational, educational and cognitive programming for probation violators who might otherwise be sentenced to prison.
  • Senate: The Senate concurred with the governor’s spending on the program.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s spending on the program.

EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING FOR PRISONERS

Vocational Village

  • Governor: The governor maintained $3.3 million in funding for the Vocational Village program in Jackson and Ionia. The program trains prisoners in the skilled trades. A third Vocational Village program set to open in Huron Valley is still in the planning and development stages.
  • Senate: The Senatedid not make a specific recommendation for the program.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s spending on the program.

Online High School Equivalency Pilot Program

  • Governor: The governor proposed eliminating the Online High School Equivalency program ($1 million in funding) which offers career-based online high school diplomas. The funding was first included in the 2018 budget with the intention of serving up to 400 inmates.
  • Senate: The Senate disagreed with the governor’s recommendation and retains current year funding as well as an additional $1 million to expand the program.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s spending on the program.

Goodwill Flip the Script

  • Governor: The governor eliminated funding for the Flip the Script program ($1.5 million) operated by Goodwill industries in Wayne County. The program has been funded since the 2015 budget year and provides education, job training and mentoring to 16- to 39-year-olds who have entered the criminal justice system, with the goal of keeping them out of the prison system.
  • Senate Senate: The Senate disagreed with the governor and recommends retaining the program with an additional $1 million in funding.
  • House: The House disagreed with the governor and recommends retaining current year funding for the program.

Education Programs for Higher Security Prisoners

  • Governor: The governor recommended $4 million ($2.4 million one-time and $1.6 million ongoing) to expand education programs to higher-security level prisoners with the intention of ensuring that more inmates are able to gain job readiness skills and prepare for reentry into communities.
  • Senate: The Senate disagreed with the governor and does not include funding for the program.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s proposed one-time and ongoing spending on educational programs for high-security prisoners.

HEALTH-RELATED SERVICES

Prisoner Healthcare

Between 2002 and 2016, Corrections spending increased by an average of 1.3% annually. During this period, per-prisoner costs for healthcare increased by an average of 3.7% annually (between the 2003 and 2017 budget years).4 The aging prison population is a major factor in the rise in per-prisoner health care costs.

  • Governor: The governor recommended an additional $2.5 million in funding to the primary contractor for healthcare services to Michigan prisoners. The governor recommended inflationary increases plus an increase in the cost per prisoner for physical and mental healthcare services.5
  • Senate: The Senate proposed a reduction of $932,400 from current year funding for the contract.
  • House: The House disagreed with the governor’s funding level and proposed a $1.5 million reduction from current year funding in the contract.

Hepatitis C Treatment

  • Governor: The governor maintained $6.7 million in funding for drug treatment of prisoners with hepatitis C.
  • Senate: The Senate concurred with the governor’s funding level.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor’s funding level.

Federally Qualified Health Center Pilot Program

  • Governor: The governor proposed eliminating the pilot program ($75,000 in funding) that helps ensure that behavioral and physical health needs of parolees and probationers are met.
  • Senate: The Senate disagreed with the governor’s recommendation and maintained current year funding for the program and recommended $675,000 in funding to expand the program.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor and eliminated funding for the program.

Substance Abuse Parole Certain Sanction Program

  • Governor: The governor proposed eliminating the program ($1.4 million in funding) for accredited rehabilitation organizations offering services to parole violators with a history of heroin and methamphetamine abuse. Funding for this program was first included in the 2016 budget.
  • Senate: The Senate retained current year funding and recommended an additional $1 million to expand the program.
  • House: The House disagreed with the governor and retained current year funding for the program.

ENDNOTES

  1. R. Risko, Budget Briefing: Corrections, House Fiscal Agency (January 2017).
  2. M. Mitchell and M. Leachman, Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (October 2014).
  3. L. Morsy and R. Rothstein, Mass Incarceration and Children’s Outcomes, Economic Policy Institute (December 2016).
  4. R. Risko, Budget Briefing: Corrections, House Fiscal Agency (January 2017).
  5. R. Risko, Summary: House Subcommittee Chair’s Recommendations, House Bill 5562 (H-1) Draft 1 (April 2018).

 

 

 

League advocates for greater equity in 2019 education budget

pdficon                 Budget Brief JPG USE THIS ONE                   May 2018
Pat Sorenson, Senior Policy Analyst

2019 school aid_educations budgetsAs the Michigan Legislature continues to craft the 2019 state budget, the League is advocating for investments that can increase educational equity and help children build the foundation for economic success, including state funding for early intervention, services to improve early literacy, greater support for students in high-poverty schools, and significant expansions early education and care.

The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives have approved separate versions of the 2019 School Aid and Department of Education budgets. Following the May 16 convening of fiscal experts and economists to determine expected revenues for next year, the differences between the House and Senate budgets will be worked out in joint conference committees.

A high-quality education is a vital path to equity for children in Michigan, yet children of color and children from families with low incomes face barriers throughout the educational system—from cradle to career. The state budget can be a potent tool for improving equity, but the effort must be intentional, comprehensive and sustained.

State budgets are not “colorblind”—even if their disproportionate impact is unintended. As a first step, the League urges lawmakers to incorporate an analysis of the racial, ethnic and social justice impact of budget options and recommendations in their budget deliberations.

K-12 SCHOOL AID

Per-Pupil Spending

Governor:

  • The governor recommended an additional $312 million to increase the per-pupil allowance to public schools by between $120 and $240—bringing the minimum School Aid payment to $7,871 per student and the maximum to $8,409.
  • The governor also recommended $11 million to continue the current $25 payment for students in grades 9-12 in recognition of the higher costs of the high school curriculum, and provided additional payments of up to $50 per pupil for high school students engaged in training in high-demand fields.
  • Funding for the increases came in part from cuts in reimbursements for cyberschools ($25 million) and for “shared-time” educational programs provided to non-public schools and home-schooled children (a cut of $68 million).

Senate:

  • The Senate increased the per-pupil payment from between $115 and $230, with higher amounts going to districts with lower per-pupil funds currently—at a total cost of $299 million. In addition, the Senate put $400 million in state funding—which would have gone to school districts that have partnership agreements with the state to improve outcomes for children—into a new categorical fund that would be available only if those districts meet certain criteria in their partnership agreements at 18 and 36 months. After that period, districts would face closure or restructuring through a school-building level Board and the cancellation of bargaining agreements.
  • The Senate agreed with the governor to retain the $25 per pupil payment for high school students, but rejected the governor’s plan to provide incentive payments to districts for students in career and technical education programs geared to high-demand fields.
  • The Senate rejected most of the governor’s shared-time cuts for nonpublic and homeschooled children, and continued current funding for cyberschools.

House:

  • The House agreed with the governor’s recommendation for per-pupil increases of between $120 and $240 at a cost of $312 million.
  • The House agreed with the governor to retain the $25 per pupil payment for high school students, but rejected the governor’s proposal to provide incentive payments for schools that enroll students in career and technical education programs—particularly for high demand jobs and skills.
  • The House rejects the governor’s cuts in both shared-time services and cyberschools.

Funding for Students Academically at Risk

  • Governor: The governor maintained At-Risk School Aid funding at its current level of $499 million. Despite increases in the last two budget years, funding for At-Risk payments remains below the statutory level, leaving many schools in high-poverty communities struggling to reduce educational inequities. Currently, At-Risk funding must be used to ensure that: (1) third grade students are reading proficiently; and (2) high school graduates are career and college ready. Among the changes proposed by the governor was language requiring schools to address both literacy and numeracy, as well as a requirement that districts implement culturally and linguistically responsive teaching strategies for English language learners. Funding for adolescent health care services ($6.1 million) and hearing/vision screenings ($5.2 million) was retained.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on level funding for the At-Risk program, but rejected the changes in budget language, including the requirement for culturally responsive teaching for English language learners. Funding for adolescent health care services and hearing/vision screenings was retained.
  • House: The House also provided continuation funding for the At-Risk program and changed budget language, but rejected the requirement for teaching English language learners. Funding for adolescent health care services and hearing/vision screenings was retained.

Early Intervention

  • Governor: The governor provided $5 million in new state funding for the state’s early intervention program, the Early On program. Early On identifies and serves infants and toddlers with developmental delays, but the lack of state funding has resulted in an inability to provide comprehensive services to all children who are identified as needing intervention. The governor recommended that the new state funds be used for pilot projects through competitive grants.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on $5 million for Early On, but recommended that the funds to be given to each Intermediate School District (ISD) based on their current federal funding allocations.
  • House: The House agreed with the Senate on Early On spending and the statewide allocation formula.

Early Literacy

  • Governor: For 2019, the governor cut $2.5 million in state General Fund by ending state support for the Michigan Education Corps. Total School Aid funding remains at $26.9 million, with funds to be used for professional development for teachers, diagnostic tools, early literacy coaches through ISDs ($6 million), and additional instruction time for pupils in grades K-3 ($20.9 million).
  • Senate: The Senate increased funding for the Michigan Education Corps by $500,000 to a total of $3 million. The Senate also provided an additional $1 million for ISD early literacy coaches, reduced funding for additional instruction time by $1 million, and included $550,000 for a new summer reading pilot program.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor on early literacy spending and the elimination of funding for the Michigan Education Corps.

School Nutrition

  • Governor: The governor removed funding ($375,000) for the 10 Cents a Meal program. The program, which is in three of the state’s Prosperity Regions (Northwest Michigan, West Michigan and Southeast Michigan), provides up to 10 cents for every meal served to support districts that include locally-grown fruits and vegetables in their school lunches. Priority is given to school districts with high percentages of students eligible for free lunches.
  • Senate: The Senate increased funding for the 10 Cents a Meal program by $325,000 for total funding of $700,000, and extended the program to two more of the state’s Prosperity Regions (East Michigan and Southwest Michigan).
  • House: The House increased funding for the 10 Cents a Meal program by $50,000 to a total of $425,000 to expand the program in Southwest Michigan.

Adult Education

  • Governor: The governor provided $27 million for adult education programs in 2019, but removed $500,000 from a pilot project that connected adult education students with employers. A total of $2 million was retained for other pilot projects in five of the state’s Prosperity Regions. State funding for adult education fell from $80 million in 2001 to only $27 million in 2018, and still falls short of the need.
  • Senate: The Senate increased adult education by $3.5 million to a total of $30.5 million. New funding is used in part to expand the pilot projects into a statewide program.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor on continuation funding of $27 million.

Flint Water Crisis

  • Governor: The governor reduced state General Fund dollars in the K-12/School Aid budget for the Flint crisis by $5.5 million, with total funding dropping from $8.7 million to $3.2 million. This reduction is not expected to result in a reduction in services because there are unexpended funds from prior years that are still available. Funds are used for school nurses and social workers as well as early childhood education and nutrition services.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor.
  • House: The House agreed with the governor.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE

Child Care Subsidies

Following adoption of the 2018 federal budget, Michigan is expecting an additional $65 million annually for child care assistance beginning in the current budget year. While the House did not address the new funds, the Senate included $62.3 million to expand child care services. The League has developed a set of recommendations for improving Michigan’s child care program with the new federal funds.

  • Governor: The governor included flat funding for child care subsidies for families with low incomes. Rate increases have been approved in the last several years based on the number of stars a program has in the state’s quality rating system. Currently, the highest child care rate in the state is $5.50 per hour for child care centers with 5 stars; the lowest rates are paid to unlicensed providers—generally family, friends or neighbors—who receive a base rate of $1.60 per hour. The governor also left untouched Michigan’s very low income eligibility threshold—one of the lowest in the country. With such low eligibility levels, the number of families receiving help with high child care expenses has dropped dramatically.
  • Senate: The Senate budget recognized new federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds coming into Michigan by allocating $62.3 million to: 1) implement a biweekly child care provider reimbursement system to replace the current hourly system that has discouraged providers from accepting children with state subsidies (cost of $36.5 million); and 2) increase the entry income eligibility threshold from 130% to 150% of the federal poverty line ($25.8 million). The Senate also included $10.7 million to increase hourly child care provider reimbursement rates—with the largest increases (50 cents per hour) for unlicensed providers or those with fewer than two stars in the state’s quality rating system.
  • House: The House concurred with the governor by retaining current year child care provider reimbursement rates and income eligibility guidelines and did not address the new CCDBG funds.

Great Start Readiness Program

  • Governor: The governor recommended level funding ($243.6 million) for the Great Start Readiness preschool program (GSRP) that serves 4-year-olds from families with low incomes. The governor also eliminated funding for the Early Learning Collaborative Partnership, a pilot project that is evaluating the impact on children of two years of preschool education by serving 3-year-olds at high risk. While Michigan has greatly expanded its preschool program for 4-year-olds, the state does not yet serve 3-year-olds—an expansion that the League supports.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on continuation funding for the GSRP, but provided $175,000 to continue the Early Learning Collaborative Partnership.
  • House: The House provided continuation funding for the GSRP and also maintained current year funding for the Early Learning Collaborative Partnership.

Early Childhood Block Grant to Intermediate School Districts

  • Governor: The governor provided level funding of $13.4 million for early childhood block grants to ISDs. To receive funds, ISDs must support a local Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, and $2.5 million is earmarked statewide for home visits for children and families with high needs. For 2019, the governor removed current budget language requiring that home visiting funds be used in part to reduce the number of students retained at grade level and the need for special education services. In its place is language requiring that funds be used to improve positive parenting practices and family economic self-sufficiency, while reducing the impact of high-risk factors through community resources and referrals.
  • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor on continuation funding.
  • House: The House also provided level funding of $13.4 million for the early childhood block grants.

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