State House Democrats are calling for Republican leaders to allow votes this week on spending more COVID-19 funds before the Legislature starts its spring break.

The call by House Democrats matches up with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s demand that GOP leaders adopt a new COVID-19 budget bill that includes new federal funding.

House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski said the Legislature should not begin a spring break next week without appropriating that money.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed two budget bills to fund the state’s COVID-19 response. But the bills also include line-item vetoes to the chagrin of Republicans and business groups.

The governor vetoed restrictions adopted by the GOP-led Legislature on how the money could be used. Dave Massaron is the governor’s budget director.

“There were some political games played with some of the funding that put restrictions on the ability to use that funding. Legal review of those restrictions and the impact of those restrictions is ongoing.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her 67 billion dollar proposed budget today.  Now she must sell her plan to the Legislature’s Republican leaders.

The relationship between the Democratic governor and GOP leaders has hovered between frosty and hostile, with fights over the state’s COVID-19 response often at the center.

   The governor said settling disagreements on return-to-school plans, helping businesses, and vaccine distribution is critical as the response moves from crisis management to recovery.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a $67 billion budget that she says would aid the state's pandemic recovery by solidifying new programs to attend community college for free, expanding child care assistance and boosting local bridge repairs. The Democrat's annual spending blueprint was unveiled to the Republican-led Legislature on Thursday. She ácalled for $570 million to address learning loss and K-12 enrollment declines on top of a $162-per-student, or 2%, increase in base aid for most traditional districts.

Stethoscope On Money
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking state lawmakers to approve $300 million in spending to fight the coronavirus into 2021, including money to support the broad-based distribution of vaccines. Thursday's request is in addition to the Democratic governor's previous call for $100 million in direct aid to people and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. COVID-19 funding and other outbreak-related bills are a top priority in the remaining two weeks of session.

Gov. Whitmer signs $62.7 billion state budget photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed a $62.7 billion state budget hours before the new fiscal year, funding a new tuition-assistance program for adults while avoiding major government cuts despite the economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a 68 (b) billion dollar state budget just before the new fiscal year begins tomorrow.

The budget process this year was swift, secretive, and successful at getting a plan finalized just before the deadline.

       Governor Whitmer said she’s pleased Democrats and Republicans agreed to NOT cut funds for schools and local governments. The budget also includes money to help workers train for careers in skilled trades, and to help reduce African-American infant mortality.

University of Michigan seal

The economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the biggest, richest schools of college sports, whether they are planning to play football this fall or not.

Michigan and Texas both announced financial cuts and dozens of layoffs in their respective athletic departments on Tuesday. Both programs rank are among the biggest, wealthiest brands in college athletics. Michigan is not playing football this fall; Texas is.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer portrait

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed spending bills as part of an agreement to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit in the current budget by using federal coronavirus relief aid, tapping savings, shifting funds and banking cost cuts from employee furloughs that are complete.

The laws include additional funding for K-12 schools and essentially shield universities and community colleges from reductions. Teachers in public and private schools will each get a $500 bonus under the measures that cleared the Republican-led Legislature with just one no vote.

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An education advocacy group says Michigan should shield low-income students from the brunt of a potential K-12 funding cut in the coming school year instead of making an across-the-board reduction to base aid to resolve a pandemic-caused budget hole. The Royal Oak-based Education Trust-Midwest and some business and education leaders launched a campaign Tuesday to protect funding for such students as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers grapple with $1.1 billion less in the school aid fund for next fiscal year than was projected previously.

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Dave Dugdale via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

A panel of Michigan lawmakers approved proposals Wednesday to dip into state cash reserves and make budget cuts, part of a wider plan to address a $2.2 billion budget hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

State Budget Director Chris Kolb told the panel that the state will draw $350 million out of its $1.2 billion “rainy day” fund. Lawmakers meeting for a joint session of the House and Senate appropriations committees also approved an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that cuts nearly $667 million from the budget by reducing funding to state agencies.

State budget graphic

An agreement to address a $3.2 billion shortfall in Michigan's 2020 budget has been announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders to respond to deep budget shortfalls brought on by the pandemic crisis. Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a joint statement Monday night that the agreement includes reductions in funding. It also provides federal COVID-19 relief funding for schools, universities, community colleges and local governments, businesses and workers.

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Pixabay | CC BY 3.0 / pixabay.com

Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday proposed a $1.3 billion plan to help K-12 schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, saying districts should have flexibility to start when they want and to offer remote instruction as an alternative if necessary.

The one-time funding, including an $800 per-pupil increase to address new costs related to COVID-19, would come from $3 billion in federal relief. Teachers would get a $500 bonus.

Michigan State Capitol picture

The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill to lift a new July 1 deadline by which it is supposed to send a budget to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The legislation, which she plans to sign, would delay the requirement until 2021 due to uncertainty over a revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan’s fiscal year does not start until Oct. 1. While lawmakers typically try to finalize the spending plan months in advance, the true deadline is Sept. 30.

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Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature are proposing a $1.3 billion one-time funding boost to help K-12 schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan unveiled Tuesday also calls for letting schools start before Labor Day without needing a waiver, redefining "attendance" to allow for online learning and reducing the number of snow day allowances so remote instruction occurs instead. The GOP proposal would increase state funding by $800 a student to implement robust distance-learning plans and to cover new health and safety measures.