LANSING – We at the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) applaud Governor Gretchen Whitmer for putting forth a thoughtful budget that addresses the needs of every community with an intentional view through a socially equitable lens by allocating $6.7 million in funds to the Sickle Cell Disease Initiative, which we have championed for decades.
We are thrilled to see $8.3 million towards providing broader coverage and access to healthcare, along with an investment to promote racial equity in our health and human service initiatives. Using the knowledge gained from the healthcare disparities —an issue that became glaringly magnified during the Pandemic – to make much-needed improvements in health equity is a smart and wise investment.
MLBC also supports the $70 million to assist communities around the state with vital support from income tax revenue lost because of the impacts of the Pandemic.
Finally, we applaud the incredibly substantial investment of over $800 million in several areas of K-12, Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) education and childcare that our families so desperately need.
State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), MLBC Executive Vice Chairperson said, “I am thrilled to see Governor Whitmer’s continued commitment to addressing racial equity and uprooting systemic and institutionalized racism by building off the work started last term with the Covid Racial Equity Task Force, the Executive Order requiring implicit bias training for Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)-regulated healthcare professions and the creation of the Black Leadership Advisory Council. The equity and justice focus of the proposed budget shows that we have an excellent partner in Governor Whitmer in working towards uplifting Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in the state, and investing in them as a budgetary priority.”
Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), MLBC Treasurer, added, “Over the last few months, MLBC has expressed concerns for the 24 cities that were impacted by their inability to collect much needed income tax revenue. I would like to thank the governor for her announcement today in her budget recommendation, and for her continued dedication, to help these cities recover from this Pandemic. Representing one of these 24 cities that were impacted, I know first-hand how much this means for the recovery of our city.”
MLBC thanks the Governor for hearing the voices of our members, and looks forward to partnering on many of our priorities moving forward. Now, it’s time for the Michigan legislature to act and vote this budget into reality.