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.