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$246M Proposed For Biz Aid In $5.6B Supplemental

January 26, 2021

The more than 1.2 million Bridge Card beneficiaries in Michigan will see a six-month, 15% bump in their benefits by the end of January, the governor’s office announced Thursday. 

A family of four that receives $680 a month, for example, will now see $782 a month, an additional $102 per month to their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program starting sometime between Thursday and month’s end. 
 
The COVID Recovery Plan announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week included a $2.1 billion request of additional federal authorization for the Food Assistance Program. The same Congress-passed bill increased benefits by 15% for all recipients through June 30. 
 
Bob Wheaton, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the announcement of expanded food assistance benefits “is consistent with the governor’s supplemental request. There is sufficient federal authorization to support these expenditures until additional federal funds are appropriated through the state legislative process.” 
 
Whitmer said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Delta Twp.) successfully pushed for the temporary increase as a way to help families through the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
“COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our state, and we must continue providing crucial support to families that need it most,” she said. 
 
Whitmer announced the $5.6 billion supplemental spending plan Tuesday, which is comprised mostly of federal funding from the latest federal COVID relief package. 
 
What’s Inside $246M Proposed For Biz Aid In Supplemental 
 
The governor announced $246 million in aid that would go to businesses via some Michigan Economic Development Corp. programs. The details on those programs, according to the supplemental budget documents available from the State Budget Office, (SBO) are: 
 
– The $125 million set aside for the Michigan Main Street Recovery Program is intended for helping businesses through a combination of capital access expansion and direct grants to “main street” businesses and microenterprises. 
 
Of that amount, $60 million will be steered to businesses with fewer than 25 employees and demonstrated income loss, with grants not to exceed $20,000. 
 
Another $63 million would be for a low-interest capital access program for businesses, with awards not to exceed $100,000.  
 
The final $2 million is for planning grants to eligible community development financial institutions to support access to available federal funding. 
 
– The next proposed business aid program is the $75 million Michigan Business Accelerator and Resiliency Initiative, which is intended to help the state’s high-tech startups to ensure they can continue to grow and contribute to Michigan’s economy, especially during a period in which many investors are holding back capital, according to the SBO. The awards are not to exceed $100,000. 
 
– The final $25 million would be for a Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative, which is targeted toward businesses with fewer than nine employees. Grants would be capped at $35,000 and would go to these microenterprises, which make up more than half of the business establishments in Michigan, according to the SBO. 
 
The remainder of the $246 million in business aid is broken down as follows: 
 
– $10 million for the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration to support restaurants and the safe reopening of food service establishments. 
 
– $6 million to help support those who are trying to complete the Futures for Frontliners or the Michigan Reconnect programs, including providing on-campus child care for parents participating in the programs. 
 
– $5 million for a pre-apprenticeship program that will connect the unemployed or underemployed with education, training and resources necessary for gainful employment in the energy sector. 
 
Here’s How The $2B In School Funding Would Work 
 
School districts will have “significant flexibility” in what they do with the $1.5 billion in federal funding awarded through the usual Part A Title I funding formula, according to the SBO breakdown on the school funding proposed in the latest supplemental. 
 
That $1.5 billion, awarded to schools based on levels of poverty, could be used for preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19; addressing learning loss; preparing schools for reopening; and testing, repairing and upgrading projects to improve school building air quality. 
 
Setting aside $8.3 million for the state for administration and oversight purposes, there’s then $157 million left over for “discretionary purposes.” 
 
This is where Whitmer is adding $300 million in state School Aid Fund money to “help schools meet the governor’s goal of providing every student with an in-person learning opportunity by March 1, and to help address the learning loss that has occurred due to the pandemic,” according to the SBO. 
 
In this bucket of funding, half would go to districts based on the number of special education students, and half would be distributed on an equal per-pupil basis, with no district receiving less than $25,000. 
 
Another $10 million would go to intermediate school districts, according to the SBO. 

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