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Whitmer partially approves COVID-19 relief, vetoes $220 million replenishment of Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund


LANSING, MI – #Gov. #Gretchen #Whitmer partially signed the COVID-19 relief plan presented to her by the #Michigan legislature, approving $106 million for small business grants and direct payments to individuals.

#Funding is now approved for $55 million in grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19, including $3.5 million just for entertainment venues, and $45 million in state aid to laid-off or furloughed workers.

#In her #Tuesday, #Dec. 29 press conference, #Whitmer credited the bipartisan-approved bill with providing relief to “families, frontline workers, and small businesses.”

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“This bipartisan bill will provide families and businesses the support they need to stay afloat as we continue working to distribute the safe and effective vaccine and eliminate COVID-19 once and for all,” she said in a release. “There is still more work to do to eliminate this virus and grow our economy.”

#However, #Whitmer approved less than a quarter of the $465 million supplemental bill passed with wide bipartisan support last week in the #House and #Senate. #Whitmer vetoed 11 items in the bill, most prominently the $220 million allocation of tax revenue into the #Unemployment #Insurance #Trust #Fund.

#Read more: #Read the $465M coronavirus response plan #Michigan lawmakers are sending to #Whitmer

The #Governor said she vetoed the #Trust #Fund replenishment due to #Republicans not negotiating that provision with her office beforehand. #She also approved an extension of unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks.

“To be very clear, this will not impact individual workers,” #Whitmer said of the #Trust #Fund veto. “General #Fund dollars have got to be used to fund essential services, like vaccines and PPE not to give tax breaks to big businesses right now.”

#Senate #Bill 748 added $220 million from the state’s general fund into the dangerously low unemployment trust fund – which is where unemployment benefits are paid from. #At the start of the pandemic, the trust fund had $4.6 billion, but has dropped to $864 million as of #Dec. 21 – meaning more than 80% of the fund has dried up in nine months. #Employers typically pay into the unemployment trust fund to cover benefits for laid off workers. #Proponents of the veto say the bill would have essentially given large corporations tax cuts by not having to pay into the trust fund.

#Read more: #Here’s what the state’s $465 million, the feds’ $908 billion COVID aid bills mean for #Michiganders

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#Whitmer justified the move by pointing to the federal stimulus approved by #President #Donald #Trump on #Sunday, #Dec. 27. The impact to the #Unemployment #Insurance #Trust #Fund would be mitigated by the federal stimulus providing all unemployment recipients with an additional $300 a week.

“The continuation of these benefits coupled with the additional $300 per week for all claimants will provide our workers with the emergency financial assistance to buy essential items like groceries and prescription drugs,” according to the release.

#Whitmer has line-item veto authority per #Michigan law. The other vetoes are detailed in the filing she sent to the #Secretary of #State’s office. #Messages have been left with the #Governor’s and #Secretary of #State’s offices to explain the other vetoes.

#Senate #Republicans called the $220 million veto “shameful” and a “slap in the face” to #Michigan workers.

“The governor’s veto of funding for unemployment assistance is a slap in the face of thousands of #Michigan workers and businesses who are suffering due to her actions,” wrote the MI #Senate GOP on #Twitter.

#Whitmer originally pushed the legislature at the beginning of #December for $400 million to fund the state’s response to COVID-19. #That included $192 million for the #Michigan #Department of #Health and #Human #Services for testing, contact tracing, food assistance for children and continuing a $2-per-hour wage increase for direct care workers.

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#Elements of the bill not addressed in the #Whitmer release include $115.3 million to hospitals and nursing homes to address health-care worker shortages and $79.1 million to expand testing and fund vaccine distribution.

#Read more from MLive:

#Gov. #Whitmer says she’ll sign #Michigan COVID-19 relief bill ‘in very near future’

#No indoor dining until next year, but some entertainment venues open under latest #Michigan coronavirus order

#General apologizes for COVID-19 vaccine distribution day after #Whitmer blasts #Trump administration

#Whitmer partners with governors in 2 other states, asks #Trump for more money during coronavirus battle

#Whitmer administration asks #Michigan legislature for $400 million to fund COVID-19 response

#Michigan #House votes to repeal 1945 emergency law used by #Whitmer to issue coronavirus orders



[ source link ]
https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/12/whitmer-partially-approves-covid-19-relief-vetoes-220-million-replenishment-of-unemployment-insurance-trust-fund.html

##Whitmer #partially #approves #COVID19 #relief #vetoes #million #replenishment ##Unemployment ##Insurance ##Trust ##Fund

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