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Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) presented a $74.1 billion election-year budget plan Wednesday to support Michigan and “invest in the success of our future”

In the bill, Whitmer suggested one-time funding increases of 5% for all public Michigan universities and community colleges, totaling to $76.3 million.  The bill also includes a 5% ongoing funding increase, which is another $76.3 million of continued funding for operations. This money, plus $200 million more, will be used for everyday campus use such as technology, infrastructure, maintenance and equipment. 

For other community colleges in Michigan, the budget will award a $16.2 million one-time increase and $16.2 million ongoing funding. This is a significant increase from the stagnant budget that has not changed in the past few years. 

The plan will also provide $1 billion for  K-12 funding. This funding will be used for the creation of infrastructure and modernization of buildings. Each district will be awarded $170 million annually for other future projects. 

“It would make game-changing investments in every student, in every district, fund school construction and mental health at a historic scale, and retain hundreds of thousands of school staff,” Whitmer said in a press release obtained by the Michigan Daily. “The budget makes schools safer, helps every student be a better student, helps every teacher be a great teacher, and helps our kids be kids.”

Whitmer also said she is putting an emphasis on mental health with this bill and plans to support teachers more financially by providing bonuses of $11,000 for school employees who stay in their jobs through 2025. 

In addition to students, Whitmer’s budget is set-up to offer tax relief for senior citizens and low-wage workers. According to her plan, the government would start with a 25% tax reduction for citizens 65 years of age and higher. As time goes on, she hopes to increase the reductions and decrease the age requirement, overall saving taxpayers about $1,000 a year. 

Whitmer has set aside $88 million towards the Unemployment Insurance System, following suggestions from her predecessor, Governor Rick Snyder (R).

According to her press release, Whitmer’s budget recommendation “puts Michiganders first and delivers on the issues that matter most to Michigan families.”

Whitmer’s entire budget is a 10.4% increase from her previously-proposed plan early last year. According to the U.S. News, the extra money has come from federal payments to state governments in response to COVID-19, and high tax revenue. 

The extra money will go to a variety of different funds, from dental services to psychiatric facilities to water quality. 

Daily Staff Reporter Ashna Mehra can be reached at