LaSata: New Senate plan would invest $2 billion for COVID-19 response, recovery

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Kim LaSata on Tuesday said she supports a Senate Republican relief plan to help protect residents from the coronavirus and to assist 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 put $2 billion of much-needed relief into our communities to distribute lifesaving vaccines, educate our students, and support our front-line workers and small businesses still struggling due to the devastating economic shutdowns,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “I believe this is an efficient way to effectively deliver federal funds to those in need now, while saving some money in case more resources are needed in the future.”

LaSata said the Senate Republican plan is guided by the caucus’s previously announced 2021 priorities, which in part focus on making Michigan healthier both physically and economically.

To help ensure Healthier Families and Communities, the new 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.