Michigan budget: A look at Gov. Whitmer’s priorities

LANSING, Mich. – After a political battle last year that left her proposed budget in shambles, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is hoping this time around will be different.

Whitmer laid out her $61.9 billion budget on Thursday.

“This represents major steps forward on the fundamentals that improve the quality of people’s lives in this state,” Whitmer said.

Gov. Whitmer releases 2021 Michigan budget plan: Here’s what’s included

She set general fund spending at $11 billion. Her biggest ask is for more education money -- the school aid fund would rise to just under $16 billion. Her per pupil increase would range from $150 - $225, depending on the school district. She’s looking to spend much more on special education.

In health care, the healthy moms and babies program would get $37.5 million. As for the environment, school building safety for lead and asbestos remediation would go to $40 million. Michigan water issues would see $40 million.

Looking back on last year’s budget battle, the governor is looking to restore previously vetoed items. This includes nearly $28 million for the going pro job training program and $15 million to Pure Michigan, looking for the tourism industry to pick up some of that tab that doesn’t get met.

“I think through the leadership in the Senate they’ve said they’re working with the tourism industry should be part of that conversation,” Whitmer said. “I’m happy to have that conversation and do more of it makes more sense.”

Whitmer also wants to get a college student loan refinancing program going, along with increased revenue sharing for local governments. She also wants more state police officers.

The House speaker said there is some not to like but some he can work with.

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