Whitmer signs off on $880M supplemental made up of federal dollars

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed off on a bipartisan $880 million spending bill that would appropriate federal COVID-19 funds for hazard pay, rental assistance, small business help and school grants. 

The supplemental spending bill was adopted by the Michigan Legislature unanimously last month and consists largely of Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars that will be distributed to various state departments. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently provides an update on COVID-19 in Michigan. With her is MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, right.

“Between the signing of this bill today and the recent agreement on the 2020 budget announced earlier this week, we have now put the full amount of the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to use so that Michiganders can reap the full benefit of our federal funding," Whitmer said in a Wednesday statement. 

The spending plan signed Wednesday is separate from a $2.2 billion plan the governor and GOP-led Legislature reached Monday to solve a pandemic-induced shortfall in the state budget. That plan is expected to be finalized by the end of July. 

The state still is seeking additional help from the federal government to resolve an expected $3 billion shortfall in next year's budget.

The supplemental signed by Whitmer Wednesday includes $100 million for first responder hazard pay premiums, $2.5 million for $500 grants to laid-off hospitality workers, $1.4 million for infection control surveys at nursing homes and $120 million to increase the pay of state direct care workers. 

The funding bill also includes $29.1 million to hire additional Unemployment Insurance Agency workers, $43 million to schools for safety protocol and assessments related to COVID-19, $100 million to help restart small businesses and more than $40 million for personal protection equipment. 

The bill includes $60 million in rental assistance, $25 million for water service debt forgiveness, and $200 million for local units of government to pay for pandemic-induced public safety and health costs.