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Governor signs supplemental bills with more than $600 million in spending

Governor Gretchen Whitmer holds up a piece of paper while seated at a table during a signing ceremony. A line of people stand behind her. A sign attached to the table reads "Putting Michigan First".
Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Governor Gretchen Whitmer at the signing ceremony for the supplemental budget bills at GVSU in Grand Rapids on Monday.

The governor held a signing ceremony in Grand Rapids today for additional budget bills worth more than $600 million in spending.

The spending covers two fiscal years, and most of the money comes from the federal government.

It also includes $114 million dollars in debt forgiveness for school districts in Ypsilanti, Inkster, Pontiac, Muskegon Heights, and Benton Harbor.

“Some of these districts have been paying off debt for more than a decade,” Whitmer said. “Without today’s supplemental, Benton Harbor would have been paying off their debt through 2045-2046 school year. So today we’re slashing that.”

At the signing ceremony, Bishop Avery Burrell of Christ Temple Church in Muskegon Heights said the debt forgiveness will help his community recover from the financial problems that the Heights and other predominantly Black communities face.

“We have gone through a lot,” Burrell said. “We’ve been battered.”

Without access to finances, he said the Heights has struggled to keep up, despite efforts to manage its budget.

“What this means and the significance for our community is huge,” Burrell said. "It kind of breaks some of the stigma and some of the disgrace and discredit that the Heights has had.”

The supplemental spending bill also includes more than $250 million in state funding for capital improvement projects at colleges and universities throughout the state. That includes $30 million for the new Blue Dot Lab tech center at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids.

Full text and analysis of the legislation, House Bill 4292, is available on the Legislature’s web site here.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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  • The state’s highest-ever budget — nearly $82 billion when combined with $24 billion in funding for Michigan’s schools that Whitmer signed July 20 — was passed by the Legislature in late June after Democrats were able to receive the Republican support needed for it to take effect by the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.