May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

House floats $185M spending bill for entertainment venues, fitness centers

3 min read

Lansing — The Michigan House on Thursday voted 96-6 to push through a $184.6 million supplemental spending bill that would benefit convention and visitors bureaus, restaurants and fitness centers forced to shut down during the pandemic.

The supplemental uses federal COVID relief funds to finance a variety of businesses lawmakers argue were hit hardest and stayed closed longest during the pandemic. 

“These businesses were prohibited by the government from operating and generating revenue during the pandemic,” said Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

While the funds largely support businesses, a large chunk of the money would go toward bills passed by the House that would forgive certain licensing fees for occupations stressed or shut down by the pandemic. The bills were passed by the House in June but have yet to pass the Senate. 

“This package, and the funding that Rep. Albert’s bill would provide for it, is a chance to right that wrong of asking businesses to pay for the right to operate without actually being given the chance to operate during the 2020 and 2021 shutdown orders,” Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, told the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. 

Several industry groups testified in support of the bill Wednesday, arguing entertainment venues, fitness centers, and convention and visitors bureaus were hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Among those testifying was Alyssa Tushman, vice chair for the Michigan Fitness Club Association, who had to close two of her three facilities during the pandemic. The association estimated more than 30% of Michigan gyms and fitness centers closed since the beginning of the pandemic. 

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2022/01/27/michigan-house-floats-185-m-spending-bill-entertainment-venues-fitness-centers/9243282002/

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