Gov. Whitmer's state budget recommendation includes CMU funding increase


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives the State of the State Address Jan. 29, 2020, at the capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.

In Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposed fiscal year 2023 budget released earlier this week, she recommended Central Michigan University receive $98.1 million – a $10 million increase from fiscal year 2022.

On Feb. 9, State Budget Director Chris Harkins presented Whitmer's recommended budget to appropriators in the House and Senate. 

The next step is for the House and Senate to hold their own hearings with representatives from government agencies and the State Budget Office to testify. The two bodies then create their own bills. 

Finally, the House, Senate and Whitmer will craft a bill they agree on.

"We always ask that they try to come up with some kind of resolution in June, July before the students come back in the fall, but historically, it's been the end of September," said Toby Roth, CMU's associate vice president of government and external relations. "Generally, the (higher education) bill is one of the last bills to get worked out. It usually is the last week of September, so we've got a long way to go before we get any kind of true understanding of what they're going to do."

In addition to regular budget increases, Whitmer's recommendation included supplemental Infrastructure, Technology, Equipment and Maintenance Funding, which would provide a total of $200 million to Michigan public universities and community colleges, $8.9 million of it would go to CMU.

According to the State Budget Office, ITEM Funding can be used for:

  • Improvements to existing physical and technological infrastructure
  • Upgrades to facilities, equipment and technology needs
  • Projects to address deferred maintenance backlogs
  • Modernization of facilities for code compliance

The last time ITEM funding was included in the state's budget was for the 2000 fiscal year, in which CMU received nearly $1.5 million.

"In the two decades since university and community college facilities have grown and adapted to meet the needs of the 21st-century learning environment," the Feb. 9 State Budget Office press release states. "Yet, many of these facilities are showing their age and the demand for online learning capabilities has grown, exacerbated by the ever-shifting needs of the pandemic."

Roth said since CMU hasn't received the funding in so long, he is unsure how the university is expected to spend ITEM funding.

"I'm sure they'll have new requirements in order to spend those dollars, but that's something that they work out with the legislature," Roth said.