For Immediate Release
Feb. 25, 2021
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Michigan Senate’s passage today of COVID-related supplemental appropriations bills, Senate Bills 29 and 114. The statement can be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“First and foremost, this political maneuver is counterintuitive. Policymakers pushing this legislation are arguing that they’re trying to get more vaccines for their communities, but in doing so are just further politicizing and dragging out supplemental funding negotiations and distribution. Legislators are building moats instead of bridges and keeping essential federal funding and life-saving vaccines away from our entire state, including their constituents. And, as the League has raised before, the longer the Legislature puts partisan politics before sound policy on COVID supplemental funding, the more our residents—all residents in every district—will suffer, and the more Michigan runs the risk of squandering this opportunity and losing this money entirely.
“By using technical budget boilerplate to force the state to stop using the nationally recognized ‘social vulnerability index’ to decide how many vaccines are given to a specific community, the Senate is going against the grain of science, hard data, racial and socioeconomic equity, federal CDC guidelines, common sense and their own communities’ and constituents’ pressing needs in one fell swoop. As a nonpartisan, data-driven organization, the League has been raising the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on residents with lower incomes, residents of color, women and more since the pandemic hit. And these adverse impacts and significant disparities in the physical and financial toll of COVID-19 on different Michiganders is exactly why they should be given adequate, specific consideration in the state’s vaccination distribution plans.
“To be clear, this is about where vaccines are going to be distributed, not who gets them. The criteria for and tiers of eligibility will be unchanged—but now people who are eligible for the vaccine might not have access to it. Nixing the federally established and universally recognized social vulnerability index jeopardizes vaccine access for residents in need around the state, including in rural communities where residents are facing high poverty.”
The League has recently compiled Census data fact sheets by county and legislative district that include poverty and other data that provide important, local context for the impact of today’s actions.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.
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