Zorn secures local battlefield funding in 2022 state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday voted to approve a balanced fiscal year 2022 budget that puts a priority on improving the lives of all Michigan families and features funding for improvements to the River Raisin battlefield.

“This budget focuses on getting people back to work, supporting our direct care workers, fixing local bridges, reducing debt and keeping our communities safe — all without raising taxes,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Along with making key investments to help people and job providers recover and build a stronger future in our state, this budget includes funding to directly enhance the lives of families in Monroe and Lenawee counties.”

The Senate approved Senate Bill 82, which is a general omnibus budget that includes $2 million for River Raisin National Battlefield Park enhancements, $3.5 million for an east-west connection tunnel in Adrian, $2.9 million for increased staff at the Monroe County Maintenance Facility to perform road maintenance, $300,000 for traffic safety during Michigan International Speedway race weekends, and $25 million for a pilot program in the western Lake Erie basin to increase the participation of agricultural lands using best management practices for water quality.

“I have been working on securing the needed funding for the battlefield for four years, and it is great to see this investment finally being made,” Zorn said. “Improving the water quality in Lake Erie and ensuring the roads are safe in the winter are also critical to the people in our region.”

SB 82 also features:
• $1.4 billion to lower rates and recruit more childcare workers,
• $190 million to repair or replace local bridges,
• $414.5 million to permanently increase wages for direct care workers,
• $95 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs,
• $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and
• $33 million to train new state police troopers and corrections officers.

The plan also deposits $500 million in the state’s rainy-day fund and $150 million in the unemployment trust fund to increase its solvency due to fraudulent benefit payments.

On Wednesday, the Senate is also expected to approve House Bill 4400, which includes increases for community colleges and public universities and $86 million to reduce university MPSERS obligations — which would build on the $140 million in the already signed K-12 budget to reduce school unfunded liabilities.

SB 82 and HB 4400 complete the 2022 state budget that began with the signing of the K-12 budget in July, which provided a record level of state school funding for the current school year and boosted every school district’s foundation allowance up to at least $8,700 per student.