"Helping business get through this moment, getting our kids back in school and the dissemination of vaccines and the health care side is really important as well. So, I think those are the three things that as we built this budget, we're so focused on economic re-engagement that drives everything."
Detroit - 10 February 2021
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, (D) Michigan:
"Yeah, well, you know. this budget is really grounded in the moment. What we need to address and tackle as a state. That's first and foremost our COVID-19 recovery and investing in that in terms of vaccine distribution and doing so in an equitable fashion."
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday will propose a $67 billion state budget that she said prioritizes boosting an economy damaged by the coronavirus, getting kids back in school and disseminating COVID-19 vaccines.
"I think those are the three things that as we built this budget, we're so focused on economic re-engagement that drives everything," Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview.
A major spending priority includes $180 million to keep intact new tuition-free programs, including an expansion so people who lost their jobs in recent months when virus restrictions were reinstated could qualify.
The Democratic governor also will propose $570 million -- separate from base K-12 aid -- to support academic recovery for students who fell behind due to school closures and to help districts with declining enrollment.
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