The Legislature conferenced on the omnibus budget bill (opens in new window) this week following reaching an agreement with Governor Whitmer. We are happy to report on a few key talent items that have been top Chamber priorities.
The Legislature has allocated the full $1.4B in child care funding from the American Rescue Plan, a major win for our child care providers and overall business community. This budget includes:
- $108M increase to raise income eligibility to 185% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) through FY 23, then 160% ongoing
- $13M to waive parent copays through FY 22
- $700M for the child care stabilization grants
- $158M to increase reimbursement rates by 30% to providers, as well as $222M for a temporary rate increase
- $117M to pay based on enrollment instead of attendance through FY 23
- $100M for startup grants for providers, technical assistance and facility improvements
- $36.5M over 3 years to expand the number of spaces for infants and toddlers
- $30M to offer up to $1,000 bonuses for eligible child care professionals
- $5M in scholarships for higher education for child care professionals
- $1.5M to provide infant and early childhood mental health consultation
The Going Pro Talent fund will be funded at $40M, allowing businesses to upskill their workforce to meet real time demand on a competitive grant basis. We are leading conversations with the Legislature and Administration on ways to make this program more impactful and anticipate ongoing conversations to utilize one-time funding towards this proven program.
Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners has been increased to $55M and $25M, respectively. These programs help Michiganders gain skills and contribute to Michigan’s Sixty by Thirty goal.
The Tri-Share Pilot program has been allocated $2.5M, $1.5M over the previous year’s allocation. This means more communities will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to split the cost of child care between state, family and business.
“We are excited to see this budget reflect West Michigan business priorities. Support for child care and effective programs like Going Pro give our business community the opportunity to address barriers for their current and future workforce,” said Alexa Kramer, Director of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber. “The dollars will allow our workforce to gain new skill and support a stronger workforce infrastructure that will be key to our competitiveness and future success.”
Child Care Legislation
The child care reform legislation developed and supported (opens in new window) by the Grand Rapids Chamber got its first hearing in the House Families, Seniors and Children committee this week. This is a summation of two years of bi-partisan work and we’re looking forward to supporting the bills through the legislative process. Highlights of the package include:
- Increasing capacity to allow for 1 additional child in a family child care home or 2 additional children in a group child care home, with parameters
- Creating regional child care networks that support home-based child care providers
- Developing a contract model for infant and toddler child care providers that can be funded within the federal child care and development block grant requirements
- Regulatory changes that make it easier to do business
- Allowing for child care providers to locate in a multiple occupancy building, with parameters
For questions or additional information, contact Alexa Kramer, Director of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
The budget also includes a $150 million deposit to the 100% employer-funded Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. The Grand Rapids Chamber has been advocating for this for months and while it is short of the goal, this amount is intended to address the high number of fraudulent benefits paid over the last year.