The Word from Lansing: Small Steps of Love in the State Budget Process

A happy family laughing on the sofa together

Halfway through Lent, the celebration of Easter—and the hope it embodies—is drawing closer. It comes as many Michiganders are exhausted from the ongoing pandemic and social unrest. However, the Holy Father reminds believers that each small step towards love has meaning; each can contribute to a deeper relationship with God and the wider community.

In his Lenten message, Pope Francis shared that “Love rejoices in seeing others grow…it suffers when others are anguished, lonely, sick, homeless, despised or in need. Love is a leap of the heart; it brings us out of ourselves and creates bonds of sharing and communion.” Catholics are called to love.

Reflecting on these words, how will people of faith act as Easter approaches? Will Catholics grow in love and charity towards others? Will they advocate for loving decision-making in society, considering justice and the needs of others? These questions are particularly relevant as the Legislature formulates the 2021–2022 state budget.

Just as a family determines how income should be spent, the State also makes budget determinations for its people. If done well, the budget can act as a document of love and of care, recognizing all Michiganders have value and considering carefully the needs of the marginalized.

In February, the State Budget Director shared Governor Whitmer’s $67.1 billion executive proposal for the 2021–2022 state budget. Now lawmakers are discussing their own recommendations.

Creating a budget with concern for the needs of the vulnerable is a significant undertaking. With limited resources, public officials must make difficult choices. Michigan Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in this state, believes the budget provides a moral statement about the kind of society in which Michiganders want to live. In this spirit, MCC has noted the following regarding next year’s state budget:

MCC will remain engaged in the Fiscal Year 2021–22 state budget process until the governor signs the final version into law. It is the hope of the bishops’ conference that the final budget takes small steps of love and “creates bonds of sharing and communion” for Michiganders in the face of difficulties. To follow along, sign up for email updates.

May God bless everyone during the remaining weeks of Lent.