FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lansing, Mich.) – The annual state budget produced by lawmakers is an indication of the moral fiber of the state and how well it upholds and advances the dignity and worth of all persons, including unborn children and the poor and vulnerable, according to Michigan Catholic Conference. With its criteria centered around the dignity of human life, MCC welcomes several spending priorities in the $76 billion Fiscal Year 2023 budget that was signed into law by Gov. Whitmer today. Regrettably, the governor continues to pursue a zero-sum game of abortion extremism as tens of millions of dollars approved by the legislature to support women and unborn human life has been vetoed from the budget.
As the governor signed off today on the state’s spending priorities for the fiscal year beginning October 1 through an education budget and a general omnibus budget for the rest of state government, MCC is welcoming resources dedicated to support the needy as well as funding for more than 100,000 students enrolled in nonpublic schools across the state. The budget includes:
- New funding to explore the sources of violence in schools,
- Expanded services to support human trafficking victims,
- Increased payments to foster care families,
- $1 million for health and safety reimbursements to nonpublic schools,
- Maintains spending for policies that provide low-income families with school clothing and food subsidies,
- Continued funding for emergency homeless shelter programs, and
- $4 million to distribute diapers at no cost for those in need.
“From the perspective of the state budget as a moral statement, the budget that was signed today and the omnibus education budget that was signed last week, is good in many regards and disappointing in others,” said Tom Hickson, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Advocacy and Public Policy. “We are grateful that this budget contains important funding to help protect children in all of Michigan’s schools and provides important resources for the less fortunate. We are also pleased to see funding to research the root causes of violence in schools, especially gun violence. Both budgets, however, contained critical funding to provide expectant mothers with assistance in raising their babies. Sadly, these programs were vetoed by the Governor as ‘anti-choice.’ This decision will harm women who choose to start a family. Michigan women deserve better.”
The Fiscal Year 2023 spending plan signed into law today for all state departments, together with the education bill that was signed last week, eliminates through executive veto over $20 million in funding to assist women and children. Over the past two budget cycles, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed over $36 million from the state budget intended to provide support to pregnant women choosing to carry their children through birth. MCC spoke against the vetoes earlier this week when they were announced, specifically citing funding to promote infant adoption, grants to provide safe housing and services to pregnant women, resources to establish and promote parenting and pregnancy programs, and a tax credit for adoptive parents.
“Although terribly unfortunate, it was not unexpected that the governor would, again, take the extreme position of vetoing funding to help pregnant women in crisis,” said MCC Policy Advocate Rebecca Mastee, J.D. “Vetoing this funding alienates tens of thousands of women and families who receive assistance from non-profit pregnancy resource centers each year. By eliminating these helping hands for women who want to have their babies, the governor is, in effect, taking away their ‘choice’ — the choice for childbirth. These vetoes — along with some $16 million vetoed from the previous fiscal year budget that sought to help women in need — clarify that pro-abortion advocates have fully committed to push abortion extremism on our state.”
Mastee continued: “Though the governor’s vetoes are cause for concern, we are grateful that $4 million in grant funding allocated by the legislature was approved for nonprofit agencies that distribute diapers free of charge. Diapers are a necessity for babies and are becoming increasingly expensive, so this funding will make a huge difference to women and families in need.”
The following is a summary of the state budget items of interest to MCC that were included in the final Fiscal Year 2023 budgets:
Supporting Pregnant Mothers in Need
- $4.4 million for diaper assistance grants to agencies that distribute diapers for free.
- $1 million for the state to contract with a public university to provide training, technical assistance, and evaluations tied to local strategies to reduce and eliminate violence in schools, including gun violence.
Promoting Adoption & Foster Care
- Maintains not less than a $55.20 administrative rate for providers of foster care.
- Increases adoption subsidies and provides a 20% increase to foster family maintenance payment rates.
- Boilerplate requiring the state to explore allowing foster care maintenance payments to continue throughout a child’s adoption process.
- $18 million in school safety funding through per-pupil funding to nonpublic schools.
- $3 million for dual enrollment of nonpublic high school students obtaining college credits.
- $1 million for health and safety reimbursements to nonpublic schools.
- $10,000 Future Educator fellowships for students attending public or private college teacher prep programs, provided they subsequently teach in a public or nonpublic school.
- $9,600 student teacher stipend paid to the public or private college teacher prep program to offset costs of student teachers working in a public school.
- Tuition Grant/Tuition Incentive programs funded as requested by MCC and the Michigan Association of Independent Colleges & Universities.
- “Grow Your Own” funding to public schools to encourage existing staff to obtain teaching degree. Recipient must subsequently teach in the school. If a position is not offered, the recipient may then teach in a nonpublic school.
- Stem cell research reporting by colleges restored to budget language.
Providing for the Poor
- Maintains $7.23 million for the annual clothing allowance.
- Maintains the Heat and Eat program to assist eligible residents with energy and food costs.
- Maintain at least $19 per diem rate per bed night for emergency homeless shelter programs.
- $50,000 for caseworkers to provide immediate assistance (food, clothing) to child trafficking survivors and children removed from dangerous environments.
Fighting Human Trafficking
- $1 million to create a human trafficking victims services expansion pilot program.
- $250,000 for county grants toward anti-human trafficking collaboratives.
- Provides an additional 3 months of food assistance for human trafficking/domestic violence victims.
- Maintains $170,000 to fund the state’s human trafficking commission and $200,000 for human trafficking intervention services.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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