State has spent $8.5B on unemployment, $251M on PPE

    Susan J. Demas

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday spoke at length about the state of Michigan’s budget at a news conference and broke down what Michigan has so far spent to curtail COVID-19 infections.

    Michigan’s roughly $11 billion General Fund — the state’s main discretionary account for health care, prisons, natural resources and more — was “stretched thin” prior to the pandemic, Whitmer said. The pandemic-caused economic shutdown has caused state tax revenues to plummet. Michigan’s annual budget is roughly $60 billion.

    A sizable chunk of spending has also been shelled out to take measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

    Whitmer said the state has spent $25 million on hospitals, $3.4 million on nursing homes, $101 million on childcare and $251 million on personal protective equipment (PPE) like N-95 masks, hand sanitizer, ventilators and hospital beds. On top of that, about $8.5 billion in unemployment insurance has also been paid to Michigan workers made jobless by the pandemic, she said. 

    Going forward, budget priorities will be giving COVID-19 hazard pay and unemployment benefits to workers, funding vaccine research at Michigan universities, providing paid sick and family leave and allocating funding to schools, Whitmer said.

    C.J. Moore
    C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.