For the second time this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed another $652 million in federal COVID-19 relief for struggling businesses and the state unemployment fund.
Whitmer first vetoed the relief earlier this month, alleging the GOP-led Legislature didn’t negotiate with the first-term Democrat.
The funding included about $405 million in tax and license fee relief for small businesses impacted by pandemic shutdowns, $150 million for the state unemployment fund, $87 million in federal relief money for private schools and $10 million for parents of children in summer school programs.
At issue was allocating roughly $2 billion of federal money still "sitting idle in the Michigan treasury,” Whitmer wrote in her veto letter.
"That's money that could be immediately put to work supporting kids, families and small businesses," Whitmer wrote. "Let's get it done for the people of Michigan."
House Appropriations Chairman Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, criticized Whitmer's veto.
"The Legislature gave her a second chance to do the right thing, but she is again turning her back on school kids, families, job providers and the workers who depend on them for a living," Albert said. "The governor keeps trying to confuse people with misleading and inaccurate claims, so I want to be very clear---none of the funding she vetoed today was in any way connected to disputes over gubernatorial powers."
Business groups said they were disappointed, but not surprised after the first veto as businesses continue to struggle to generate profit under the last year of COVID-19 restrictions that shuttered some industries for up to eight months.
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