Why has Michigan only spent a fraction of its federal COVID relief money?

The COVID relief plan that sent billions of dollars from Washington to states went into effect months ago. Michigan has spent only a small fraction of those recovery dollars.

LANSING, Mich. – The COVID relief plan that sent billions of dollars from Washington to states went into effect months ago. Michigan has spent only a fraction of those recovery dollars.

Many Michigan residents are wondering why. Local 4′s Rod Meloni spoke with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to get some insight.

Whitmer acknowledged that our political leaders have a lot of work to do. She said she favors programs that will help put Michigan residents on a path to prosperity. Legislators want to get workers back to work and businesses on their feet.

The federal government’s ‘strings attached’ to the funding has been an issue.

“We do know what the rules are. I mean, we’ve got the ability. We don’t have pure discretion and we can’t just use these dollars any way we want to,” Whitmer said.

Federal officials sent $6.4 billion. $700 million made it into the current budget funding law enforcement, broadband, and water and sewer projects. That leaves a staggering $5.7 billion to spend.

Federal officials said Lansing can spend just under $3 billion now. The other half after March 1 of next year and all of the money needs to get spent over three years time.

“If they pass legislation that requires state matching funds, then we would have to unwind everything we’ve worked on and reappropriate everything and that would be very messy. We need to just be careful, we need to take our time,” House Appropriations Chair Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell said.

Whitmer assured Local 4 that there are a couple supplemental spending bills in the works and she believes at least some of the available money will get spent before the end of the year.

Read: More Michigan political coverage


About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.