Zorn supports measures to resolve FY 2020 budget deficit

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday supported measures to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit in fiscal year 2020 and directing federal COVID-19 relief funds to education and vital services that were hit hardest by the virus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on family incomes, small businesses’ bottom lines, and our state budget,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I am proud to support this bipartisan solution to balance a historic deficit in the current budget year while also protecting critical support for local governments and schools.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved an executive order from the governor to reduce current-year spending. As part of a bipartisan agreement, most state agencies will see reductions, including the executive and legislative budgets.

Under the agreement, the state will save $936 million in fiscal year 2020 by reducing spending and other cost-saving measures. The budget plan also uses $350 million from the state’s rainy day fund to support funding for critical programs.

With passage of two supplemental budget bills, the state will have directed over $3 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to schools, communities, job creators, workers and families for costs resulting from the pandemic, including:
• $555 million for schools;
• $200 million for universities and community colleges; and
• $350 million for local governments.

“Education continues to be a top priority, and this plan will provide schools a $175 per student increase to ensure Michigan children can safely return to learn this fall,” Zorn said. “It also will give our teachers $500 in one-time hazard pay in recognition of their commitment to finding innovative ways to educate our kids during this global pandemic.

“Although the current-year deficit is resolved, we face a huge challenge with the 2021 budget. I am committed to working together to meet that challenge and protect vital funding for our schools, families and communities.”

Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265 will be sent to the governor to be signed after being finalized by the House.