Sen. MacDonald supports $2B relief plan to address effects of COVID-19 and Whitmer shutdowns

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Tuesday said he supports a Senate Republican supplemental relief package to help protect people from the coronavirus and assist Michigan families, workers and job providers struggling financially due to Gov. Whitmer’s shutdowns.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our plan would pump $2 billion in much-needed funding into our communities to ensure we effectively and quickly get the vaccines to the public, support our front-line workers and help local small businesses struggling under the governor’s repeated shutdowns,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “It also invests critical support for our schools to ensure our students don’t fall behind and builds on the over $4 billion we previously approved to fight the effects of this health crisis.

“We must be wise in how we use the federal relief funding, so our responsible plan is designed to meet our current needs while also ensuring we have additional resources available to address any new challenges.”

MacDonald said the Senate Republican plan is guided by the caucus’s 2021 priorities released last month, which focus on making Michigan healthier both physically and economically.

To help ensure Healthier Families and Communities, the plan includes:
• $110 million in additional support for vaccine distribution. One-third of the funding is dedicated to improving the governor’s poor vaccine rollout. The rest of the funds will be held in reserve until the governor’s plan is completed.
• $170 million to increase pay for direct care workers on the front lines of fighting the virus in hospitals and nursing homes.
• $220 million in emergency rental assistance to ensure Michiganders struggling financially due to the pandemic and Gov. Whitmer’s orders can remain in their homes.
• $25 million for mental health services and substance abuse prevention.

To help create A Healthier Economy, the plan includes:
• $300 million to assist Michigan workers and businesses facing financial ruin due to Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders. These grants will offset property tax payments for businesses affected by the governor’s shutdowns.
• $150 million to help ensure the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund remains solvent after a year in which one in four Michiganders were out of work.
• $50 million to reimburse Michigan businesses that were charged licensing and inspection fees by the state even when their businesses were closed through no fault of their own.

To help build A Healthier Future, the plan includes:
• $450 per pupil — nearly $1 billion — to tackle learning loss associated with school closures, including funds to support summer school, mental health services and assessments.
• $75 million to increase virus testing for students, teachers and staff in order to help in-person learning resume statewide as soon as possible. An additional $110 million in testing funds will be appropriated when the Whitmer administration finalizes their plan.