LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer once again called on the federal government Thursday to provide assistance to states struggling with budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during a briefing in Lansing, Whitmer said Michigan has spent $8.5 billion on unemployment benefits for jobless residents during the pandemic.
Earlier in May, the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency said there could be a $2.7 billion shortfall in the next fiscal year. Whitmer said it would take additional spending from the federal government, beyond the aid allocated from the CARES Act, to ensure that Michigan can have an expansive budget.
“Every state in the nation is confronting a budget crisis that threatens everything from education of our kids to our public safety, to the health care that we all so desperately rely on,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer highlighted school funding, public safety spending, health care and infrastructure as her budget priorities for the next year.
She said that without an additional federal relief bill, the Whitmer and Republican leadership in the state Legislature would have to make tough decisions on budget cuts going forward.
“There are no easy solutions here, there will be hard choices, but I'm eager to work with the legislature to advocate for the support that we need from the federal government,” Whitmer said. “I know we have shared priorities when it comes to protecting the people of our state. And the vast majority these issues are not partisan in nature. They're crucial to ensure important services for everyone in the state.”COVID-19 cases in Michigan
On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 406 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 new deaths from the virus.
Per MDHHS, 17 of the 38 deaths were found in a review of prior death certificates.
Michigan now has 56,014 total cases and 5,372 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said that COVID-19 case trends around the state were encouraging, and that if they continued, the state could move forward in its reopening plan.
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health reported 748 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths from the virus as of Thursday.
OCDPH also reported 78 probable cases and five probable deaths, along with 310 recoveries among all COVID-19 cases.
A probable case is identified when an individual is symptomatic but has not been tested. A recovery is identified when a person is 30 days beyond the onset of COVID-19.
The Allegan County Health Department reported 214 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths from the virus as of Thursday. The county also 33 probable cases and 136 recoveries.
— Contact reporter Arpan Lobo at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @arpanlobo.