Horn supports agreement to utilize federal funding, resolve budget deficit

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn earlier this week supported two supplemental budget bills to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit through spending cuts, hiring freezes and using a portion of the state’s “rainy day fund” while also directing federal funds to education and vital services that were hit hardest by the cost of COVID-19.

“When the coronavirus made its way to Michigan, it brought with it many difficulties that have critically affected our state budget,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “We were facing a historic mid-year deficit and these bills tighten up our belts to decrease state spending and use federal money where it will be most effective to help preserve funding for schools and other critical functions of government.”

The bipartisan plan will save $936 million by reducing state spending, and will direct additional federal COVID-19 funds to cover expenses by schools and local governments due to the virus, including:

  • $555 million for schools;
  • $200 million for universities and community colleges; and
  • $350 million for local governments.

The budget plan will also allocate $500 in one-time hazard pay for teachers.

“In addition to cutting back state funding, these bills use federal money to help schools offset costs associated with responding to the coronavirus as well as help prepare teachers, parents and students for the future of education in our state,” said Horn. “I’ve spoken with teachers in my district and the overwhelming dedication they have shown to educating our students is unparalleled. They have worked countless hours and often used their own money to make sure kids continued to get an education as we battled back against this public health crisis.”

As part of the agreement, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an executive order from the governor to reduce current-year spending. Most state agencies will see reductions, including the executive and legislative budgets. The budget plan also uses $350 million from the state’s rainy day fund to support funding for critical programs.

“With approval of these bills, the Legislature has voted to send over $3 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to schools, businesses, workers and families impacted by the pandemic,” said Horn. “This is a responsible, bipartisan plan that uses funds where they are most needed and looks to Michigan’s future as we continue to navigate the coronavirus epidemic.”

Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265 now head to the governor to be signed.

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