Whitmer Signs $106 Million Bipartisan Relief Bill

January 4, 2021 by Sean Trambley
In this screenshot from the DNCC's livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the virtual convention on August 17, 2020. (DNCC/Handout/Getty Images/TNS)

LANSING, Mich. – This week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan relief bill that the legislature passed after she urged them to provide support for Michigan families, frontline workers, and small businesses. 

The relief bill includes $55 million to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $20,000 will be made available to small businesses across the state that need support this winter. 

The relief bill also includes $3.5 million for grants of up to $40,000 each for live music and entertainment venues, and includes $45 million in direct payments to workers who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the virus. 

“I proposed this stimulus plan to the legislature in November because I know how much our families, frontline workers, and small businesses need relief. This bipartisan bill will provide families and businesses the support they need to stay afloat as we continue working to distribute the safe and effective vaccine and eliminate COVID-19 once and for all,” said Whitmer. “There is still more work to do to eliminate this virus and grow our economy. All Michiganders have a personal responsibility to do their part and mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where the virus can easily spread from person to person. We will beat this virus together.” 

Since March 15, Whitmer’s administration has paid nearly $27 billion in benefits to nearly 2.3 million workers. 

When she signed the bipartisan relief bill, Whitmer line item vetoed any items not subject to negotiated agreement, including a $220 million giveaway of taxpayer money to the employer-owned Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund – a pool of funds designed to help businesses fund benefits for laid off workers. 

The Unemployment Insurance Agency has also provided more than $900 million in tax breaks to businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

The governor urged the legislature to return to work in January and pass a permanent extension of unemployment benefits and an increase in weekly benefits that provide unemployed Michiganders the support they need to put food on the table for themselves and their families. 

The governor also signed bipartisan Senate Bill 604, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Hertel, extending unemployment benefits for Michiganders who have lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from 20 to 26 weeks until the end of March 2021. 

“No Michigander should have to worry about how to put food on the table or pay their bills, especially during a global pandemic,” said Whitmer. “These bipartisan bills are an important step in providing immediate relief for working families, but there is more work to do. I urge the legislature to take further action to make this permanent. Forty states, including all of our neighbors, automatically provide at least 26 weeks of unemployment relief. Michiganders deserve better than a short-term extension that expires in March. It’s time to work together on a bipartisan, long-term solution for working families.” 

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