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Whitmer signs $1.1 billion spending bill, says it will fund affordable housing and support workers

Michigan Capitol building in Lansing on a summer day.
Emma Winowiecki
/
Michigan Radio
Michigan Capitol building in Lansing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the first public act of the new year Tuesday — a $1.1 billion spending bill that includes money for housing and assistance for businesses that suffered losses due to COVID-19.

The spending bill taps into federal COVID relief funds that will be used to help businesses, develop downtowns, and offer aid to create affordable housing. It also allocates money to a water shutoff prevention fund, and a massive $200 million investment to help upgrade a paper mill in Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.

The new budget law also includes money to help workers with transportation and childcare costs and to encourage apprenticeship programs.

“Today, Michigan is taking a step forward to grow our economy, invest in our communities, and build a bright future.” Whitmer said in a statement. “This supplemental bill will build thousands more affordable housing units across the state, revitalize our communities, empower entrepreneurs, and support workers. I’m proud of my partners in the Michigan Legislature for getting this done, and I look forward to seeing what else we accomplish this year.”

The Democratic governor was joined by the Legislature’s new Democratic leadership for the bill signing. Her office says this is the earliest a first bill has been adopted by the Legislature and signed by a governor since 1947.

In fact, many Republicans complained the spending bill moved too fast without time to digest its details.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.