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There are many accomplishments in Michigan’s budget, but long-term investments are needed • Michigan Advance

There are many accomplishments in Michigan’s budget, but long-term investments are needed • Michigan Advance

There are many accomplishments in Michigan’s budget, but long-term investments are needed • Michigan Advance

Every night, my family eats dinner together around the kitchen table and we talk about our day. It’s where we talk about the many things that affect our lives: our jobs, school, our health, where we live, our family budget, and so much more.

No doubt these types of things are mentioned in countless Michigan households and we often hear legislators praise the budgets they have worked on to address these types of “kitchen” problems.

In the case of the most recent decision of the Michigan Legislature agreement on the state budgetThat sentiment certainly rings at least somewhat true. Building on the success of this year’s budget, the FY 2025 budget agreement includes many solid investments in what Michiganders need most, including long-awaited improvements to our state’s basic cash assistance program, the continuation of universal free school meals, improved access to health care, the expansion of the Rx Kids program, and additional funding for child care.

$83 billion state budget arrives on Whitmer’s desk after all-night session

Here at the Michigan Public Policy League, we are celebrating these budget wins, especially the transformative improvements to the Family Independence Program (FIP), which will go a long way toward providing meaningful financial assistance to families struggling to make ends meet.

Have There has long been advocacy for strengthening FIP by shifting more Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds into the program. And we’re glad to see it’s finally happening. After more than a decade without any improvements, next fiscal year’s budget will use an additional $62.5 million in TANF funding to address the woefully outdated FIP payment standard, extend lifetime limits, and provide additional funding to families with children ages 0-14.

While improvements to the FIP and many of the other people-focused investments in the FY 2025 state budget agreement are cause for celebration, it remains critical not to lose momentum in the years ahead, especially with the end of pandemic-era funding.

Bold, long-term investments will be needed to ensure a brighter future for our state’s families, and we have a long way to go given that Nearly half (41%) of Michigan households have incomes below the federal poverty level or have limited assets, limited income and employment (ALICE)which means they do not live in poverty, but still do not earn enough to pay their expenses. Basic household needs.

Michigan currently has the 13th highest poverty rate in the country at 13%, and sadly, our child poverty rate is even higher at 18%, while 28% are ALICE households. For all of these households, everyday life involves making impossible choices, from grappling with the decision of whether to pay rent or buy groceries to deciding between paying for childcare or keeping the lights on at home.

With the recent publication of the national law Kids Count Data Book 2024 According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we also recently learned that our state continues to rank in the bottom half of states for overall child well-being, at 34, and in the bottom 10 for education, at 41.

While the pandemic has played a role in some of the opportunity gaps we see in our education data, it is certainly not the only cause. Michigan continues to rank low among the 50 states that experienced the pandemic, and according to the Casey Foundation, test scores nationwide have barely budged in decades.

Given our discouraging education data, we were disappointed to see that the FY 2025 state budget agreement did not allocate more funding for school foundation allocation and student mental health services.

However, we applaud the continued investment in funding allocations to schools, as improving equity in school funding is necessary to ensure that the needs of all students are fully met. Still, we must do more to improve the educational outcomes and emotional well-being of our children so that they can thrive in their classrooms. That will be critical not only to their future success, but also to the future success of our state as we look to retain people here and attract more people to Michigan.

These are issues that we cannot solve overnight, so long-term state investments are essential and that is why we will continue to defend budget priorities which continue to be excluded, including, but not limited to: a state child tax credit, An expansion of the EITC to workers who do not currently receive itand school funding that completely meets the needs of students.

Fighting for a brighter future for our fellow Michiganders is the cornerstone of our work here at the League and we will continue to fight until every person in our state has what they need to not only survive, but thrive.