Ten state budget proposals great for health, prosperity, equity

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced recommendations for a $67 billion budget for Michigan. If passed, hundreds of millions of dollars will go toward initiatives at the intersection of the environment, health and justice and strengthen the health of people, their communities and the environment.

Many of Gov. Whitmer’s appropriation recommendations mirror those sent to her administration by Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Among the appropriations were $10 million toward remediating homes through the Lead Prevention Fund; $5 million toward addressing health and safety concerns in homes, and $1.6 million toward bringing better equity and inclusion in the state health department by creating the Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office. 

“In these COVID times, Michiganders are spending more time than ever at home while on a tighter budget,” said Tina Reynolds, environmental health program director at MEC. “Gov. Whitmer’s proposed investments in energy efficiency and lead remediation in homes will help families save money, stay healthy and warm, and create good-paying jobs. What’s more, the Governor’s investment in health equity and inclusion will ensure anyone who gets sick is properly cared for.”

Other appropriations include $25 million for electric vehicle infrastructure improvements, workforce development and planning; $55 million to filter out lead in schools’ drinking water; and $40 million for climate resiliency projects that limit flooding, erosion and sewer overflows. 

“Gov. Whitmer’s recommended investments in clean, affordable energy; safe drinking water; and climate resiliency show she is taking a holistic, inclusive approach to making Michigan resilient,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director of legislative affairs, energy and drinking water for MEC. “The issues her recommendations seek to resolve are faced by residents across the state. Putting funding behind these critical programs will make Michigan a healthier and more prosperous state for all.”

Still more appropriations ensure Michiganders and the communities they live in can invest in environmental sustainability and reap its economic benefits.

To help the state save money through energy efficiency upgrades, Gov. Whitmer proposed $5 million for the State Facility Green Revolving Fund. She also proposed $20 million to quicken the pace of contaminated site cleanup.

To help local governments protect their communities and natural places, Gov. Whitmer proposed $290 million through her MI Clean Water Plan to limit sewer overflows and septic system failures. 

To help individuals save money on clean energy investments, Gov. Whitmer proposed sending $5 to the Michigan Saves, among the nation’s oldest and strongest green banks.

By Beau Brockett Jr.