Governor reveals $5.6B plan to address coronavirus

The new plan, funded almost entirely with federal money, would improve vaccine distribution and help schools go back to in-person classes.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday unveiled a plan to spend $5.6 billion to aid in the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The spending plan draws money almost entirely from federal stimulus funds approved in the waning days of 2020. The money would go toward improving the distribution of vaccines in the state, helping schools return to in-person instruction, and help people and businesses harmed by the pandemic.

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What It Is: The spending plan lays out priorities for more than $5 billion in federal COVID-19 aid approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December. The state would chip in $575 million from its own funds.

The plan includes

  • $1.7 billion to help schools return to in-person instruction
  • $90 million to distribute the coronavirus vaccine
  • $575 million to expand COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and lab capacity
  • $50 million per month in rental assistance for people struggling to afford housing or utilities
  • $225 million to fund economic development programs, including a grant program for restaurants and other businesses

What Happens Next: The spending plan must be approved by the state legislature. The governor will forward it to them on Wednesday.

The plan already faces an uphill battle in the Republican-led legislature. Some lawmakers are threatening to withhold federal COVID-19 allocations until the governor lifts the ban on in-person dining and revises some business restrictions.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

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