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Whitmer approves $106 million in COVID-19 relief funds, vetoes millions more

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: December 29, 2020

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved $106 million in COVID-19 relief funding and extended unemployment benefits, but she vetoed the rest of the state legislature’s $465 million bill.

The signed bipartisan relief bill, which the Governor proposed to the legislature in November, includes $55 million for small businesses impacted by the pandemic in grants up to $20,000 each. It also includes $45 million in direct payments to workers laid-off and furloughed because of COVID-19 and $3.5 million in live music and entertainment venue grants, up to $40,000 each.

She extended unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks for individuals who have lost work because of COVID-19. Under Senate Bill 604, benefits are available through the end of March 2021.

Whitmer vetoed millions more including $220 million for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The Trust Fund helps businesses fund benefits for laid off workers.

Whitmer said those general fund dollars are needed for COVID-19 vaccine administration and PPE. She added the veto doesn’t impact unemployed workers, as the money would have been added to an account that doesn’t pay out immediately.

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