Runestad votes for plan to solve state’s budget shortfall
‘Today’s agreement is a practical, bipartisan solution to the unprecedented financial wreckage to our state’
LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad voted for a plan passed by the Legislature Wednesday to resolve a $2.2 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2020.
The state has faced unprecedented budgetary pressures this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent loss of jobs and economic downturn. Wednesday’s agreement balances the budget while protecting Michigan families, schools and communities.
“The coronavirus has not only cost us precious lives, but it has also brought devastation to our economy,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Today’s agreement is a practical, bipartisan solution to the unprecedented financial wreckage to our state. It will help ensure our most vulnerable are not further harmed by budget stresses.”
Building on the framework previously announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, the agreement will balance the state’s $2.2 billion budget shortfall through spending cuts, hiring freezes and using a portion of the state’s “rainy day fund.”
As part of the agreement, most state agencies will see reductions, including the executive and legislative budgets. The plan also includes $936 million in savings through reductions in state spending and other measures and uses $350 million in the state’s reserve funds to support funding for critical programs.
With Wednesday’s action, the Legislature has sent over $3 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to schools, communities, job creators, workers and families affected by the pandemic, including:
• $555 million to support schools;
• $200 million to support universities and community colleges;
• $350 million to local governments; and
• $53 million for $500 in hazard pay to teachers.
The budget leaders have committed to immediately beginning work on the fiscal year 2021 budget, which begins Oct. 1.