Cheaper electric vehicles, school field trips, insulin - what's in the Michigan governor's budget
LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Lawmakers and residents got their first look at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's massive $79 billion budget proposal for Michigan's upcoming fiscal year.
Some segments of the budget recommendation had already been reported, including expanding tax credits and universal pre-k. Other pieces, including the waiving part of the sales tax on electric vehicle purchases and school field trips are new.
"My budget includes investments to put money back in people’s pockets, help students thrive in school, put more people on paths to higher education and good-paying jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, keep our communities safe, and improve public health," Whitmer said in a release. "In the months ahead, I look forward to working with my partners in the legislature to deliver a balanced budget that makes a real difference in people’s lives. Let’s get it done."
The budget comes on the back of a multi-billion dollar surplus that has provided some cushion for the governor's wishes. The proposal includes $9,608 per student in public schools and $14.8 billion in the general fund.
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Here are some of the notable portions of the budget.
Electric Vehicles tax breaks
The governor wants to make purchasing an electric vehicle cheaper in Michigan. Her budget proposal recommends a tax break for buyers by cutting the state sales tax on the first $40,000 of an electric vehicle purchase.
The break would save buyers $2,400 in taxes. The tax break would cost $48 million over two years.
"General Motors is committed to its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion and the key to reaching our vision is through electric vehicles," said General Motors in a statement. "As we bring more affordable EVs to market, including many built here in Michigan, Governor Whitmer’s proposed plan will help to accelerate EV adoption and put more EVs on the road."
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Also in the budget is $150 million for school districts to buy 500 electric school buses, $10 million to transition state vehicles to electric, and $45 million for local governments to upgrade their fleets.
The budget calls for appropriating $150 million to manufacture insulin to help residents who are diabetic.
The manufacturing would take place in the state and "create jobs and diversify industry."
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Universal pre-k and free school lunches
The proposal contains several new recommendations for education.
In a previous announcement, Whitmer called for universal Pre-K to be implemented by the end of her second term. According to the budget, it would save families "an average of $10,000 a year" to allow all 4-year-olds to go to school.
There is also $300 million - about $214 per student - for tutoring to help them catch up following learning loss from the pandemic. It also calls for $50 million to boost the early education workforce and $4 million to enroll kids in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which sends free books by mail to families.
There's another $50 million for student teacher stipends and extra $15 million to fill teaching positions in rural parts of the state.
Another $160 million would provide universal school breakfasts and lunch, as well as $1 million to in school meal debt forgiveness. You can read more about the initiative here.
There is also $4 million to send every fourth grade class to a state park to help immerse students in the environment.
Expanded free community college
Whitmer wants to build on her tuition-free programs at trade schools and community college by temporarily expanding the eligibility age to 21. The Reconnect program would receive $140 million to allow students ages 21-24 to qualify through 2026.
Another $75 million would go toward making bachelor programs more affordable by offering grants to students who are 30 credits or fewer away from getting a degree. There's also $90 million for job training grants to get people into skilled trades