Rep Joseph Bellino
Rep. Bellino, House approve plan for economic recovery, additional COVID-19 resources
RELEASE|December 15, 2021

State Rep. Joe Bellino and the House of Representatives approved three bipartisan funding bills to provide essential resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery.

“COVID-19 completely changed our world,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “It’s extremely important that we get more resources into the battle as soon as possible. As cases continue to surge and hospitals reach capacity, this plan will help save lives.”

Mainly using federal COVID-19 assistance, House Bill 4398 would fund a variety of efforts, including pandemic-related programs. It would provide resources for rental assistance and coronavirus testing. A $10 million allocation would help Teach for America expand its operations in response to the teacher shortage schools are facing. The plan would also appropriate more than $126 million of federal relief funds that are limited to specific programs.

HB 5523 proposes more than $1 billion primarily focused on treatment, testing and health care staffing. A $134 million investment would support access to early treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, for people who contract COVID-19. The plan would also provide $300 million to help hospitals and clinics recruit, train and retain qualified health care workers; and another $250,000 in work-based learning for high school students at health services academies. Proposed spending for vaccines and testing is also included in HB 5523.

Bellino highlighted a $409 million appropriation contained in Senate Bill 85 to provide relief for afflicted businesses based on property taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and license and inspection fees. Other resources to support job creation in Michigan are also included in Senate Bill 85.

“Many small businesses were unable to open their doors,” Bellino said. “This was through no fault of their own. Now, our state should help them out.”

Last week, the House approved House Bills 5602-04 to create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund, where the Legislature is now setting aside funding to compete for economic development projects. In addition to economic assistance for critical industries, the fund could be used to get future job sites ready for development and create workforce training opportunities. SB 85 also deposits $1 billion into the SOAR fund.

SB 85 now advances to the governor. HB 4398 also passed the Senate and heads to the governor, too. HB 5523 will remain under consideration by the Senate.

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