Military and Veterans Affairs
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs primary mission is military and emergency preparedness, as well as service to veterans. The department is a key partner with the federal government in defending sovereign interests of the United States globally and protects the lives and property of Michigan residents during times of natural disaster and civil unrest. There are approximately 10,100 members of the Michigan National Guard; approximately 60 are currently deployed with an additional 650 scheduled to be deployed through December 2015. The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 recommends ongoing funding of $164 million, of which $48.2 million is general fund.
Highlights of Governor’s Budget Recommendation
• The budget includes $81.6 million ($15.4 million general fund) in funding for National Guard operations and outreach services, representing the Michigan National Guard’s traditional mission of state and national defense and homeland security, as well as community programs including the Military Family Relief Fund.
• As state National Guard units compete for fewer federal dollars, it is critical to maintain personnel readiness levels near 100 percent. Funding of $4.3 million general fund is recommended to support a state tuition assistance program for Michigan Air and Army National Guard service members to improve recruitment and retention in order to achieve necessary readiness levels.
• As a veteran friendly state, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is funded with $15.5 million ($10.3 million general fund) to help returning veterans find employment and assist veterans and their dependents in accessing benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
• Veterans’ service organizations will receive $3.3 million in state-funded grants to counsel veterans and assist them in receiving benefits and services for which they are eligible.
• The fiscal year 2016 Executive Recommendation provides $66.8 million ($22.5 million general fund) in funding support for the Grand Rapids and D. J. Jacobetti Veterans’ Homes, which provide direct nursing and domiciliary care for 630 residents. Of the total general fund, $500,000 is for special maintenance and $3.3 million is new funding as a short term solution to offset a projected shortfall in the veterans’ homes restricted revenue while a long term solution is under study.
• Savings are realized from vacancies and other administrative efficiencies, and reductions in discretionary funding totaling $746,300 general fund.