State COVID-19 relief bill good news but politics should stop
With 2020 drawing to a close, it appears that more relief is on the way for Michiganders.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a $106 million plan that will provide relief to businesses and fund efforts to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus, according to an Associated Press story.
Though the plan was a collaborative effort between the governor and the legislature, Whitmer told reporters that the legislature strayed from the original agreement and that the $465 million plan the legislature sent to her desk had been cut.
Unemployment benefits will be extended from 20 weeks to 26 weeks through the end of March by signing a separate bill. But Whitmer used a line-item veto to get rid of a $220 million allocation that would have helped businesses fund unemployment benefits.
“This will not impact individual workers,” she said. “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.”
Under the plan, the Michigan Strategic Fund will receive $55 million to distribute survival grants of up to $20,000 to small businesses that were forced to close and grants of up to $15,000 if the businesses partially closed.
The relief plan also allocates $3.5 million for grants of up to $40,000 to help entertainment venues and $45 million in payments to workers who were laid off during the pandemic.
We are glad to see this legislation come to fruition. Many of our local businesses can certainly use the help, as well as these entertainment venues that have been hit harder than most during this pandemic. We may have a vaccine now, but life simply won’t feel “normal” on the other side of this without some of these businesses up and running.
We have said it before, but it’s worth saying again: we would like to see our Michigan lawmakers stop playing partisan politics, because it is only hurting our neighbors. They should be doing what is best for all Michiganders, not just their side of the aisle.