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State: Donations welcome to tackle COVID-19 pandemic, up to $3B revenue loss expected

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Lansing — The state of Michigan is accepting donations to aid in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist

The donations would fund education support for students, food, water and other essential needs and the money would be distributed through the State Emergency Operations Center, according to a Tuesday press release.

The development came as a state budget official said the state could suffer revenue losses ranging from $1 billion to $3 billion because of the pandemic.

The money, which would help the state to match federal certain federal funding, can be donated at www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19. 

“We want to give residents and businesses an opportunity to help lift others up through the support of essential services and needs,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said in the Tuesday statement.  

“Whether you give your time, talent, financial support or other resources, everyone can stand tall and contribute in some way. We will get through this together.”

The state so far has allocated $150 million in additional funding for Michigan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday vetoed $80 million from a supplemental spending bill and put a freeze on state hiring to prepare for future expenses related to the virus. She also restrict discretionary spending within state departments. 

The state is looking at a "wide range of scenarios that could translate to $1 billion to $3 billion in lost revenue,” Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the State Budget Office, said Monday.

"As we get more information about unemployment, the economic impacts, the ability to use federal dollars, and what all of this means for tax collections and state revenues, we will then be better able to determine what budget actions will be necessary," Weiss said.

Whatever donations are made would likely ease pressures on the state budget, Weiss said Tuesday. 

3B3"If they can use some of that money for masks or other supplies... it would then be money that the state budget would not have to utilize for COVID-19 response," Weiss said.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com