Whitmer signs spending bill, allocating $240M in federal COVID-19 relief – Detroit Free Press

by | Jan 31, 2023 | COVID-19

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a $1.1 billion supplemental spending bill Tuesday that will send federal COVID-19 relief funds across the state for business and housing programs, give $200 million to a paper mill in Escanaba and create a new water shutoff prevention fund.The supplemental spending bill got support from Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the legislature. But the process tested Democrats’ slim majorities in the Legislature when House Democrats waited for state Rep. Joey Andrews, D-St. Joseph, to arrive and cast the deciding vote to advance the bill following the birth of his daughter earlier that morning.Republican lawmakers have blasted the spending measure, calling the process rushed and opaque. Democrats, meanwhile, have said the appropriations are necessary to close the books for the previous fiscal year and make popular investments for the current year.More:Lawmakers approve $200M for Escanaba paper mill as part of $1.1B spending billMore:Michigan’s minimum wage: What’s going on with lawFederal dollars for blight removal, housing, apprenticeships and moreThe supplemental spending bill appropriates $240 million in American Rescue Plan dollars, the federal stimulus package that provided money to states and municipalities to help communities recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current fiscal year, the spending bill allocates the following from the “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds”:$75 million for a blight elimination program to demolish vacant residential, commercial and industrial structures.$75 million to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic.$50 million for a “missing middle” grant program to increase housing stock for households with incomes between 185% and 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (between $55,500-$90,000 for a four-person household)$25 million to expand apprenticeships for women, people of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, individuals without the equivalent of a high school degree and those involved with the criminal justice system to earn credentials.$15 million to remove barriers to entering and staying in the workforce such as transportation, child care and clothing.Escanaba paper mill awarded $200MA paper mill near Escanaba owned by Sweden-based Billerud will receive a $200 million grant. …

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