This evening, before a joint convention of the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives, Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her fifth State of the State address. Tonight, was historic for a number of reasons; this was the first in-person speech since before the pandemic, the first time both the House and Senate have Democratic majorities in four decades, and the governor gave her address before Michigan’s first woman Senate Majority Leader and first Black Speaker of the House.
As the first address of her second term, Governor Whitmer laid out a number of proposals that encompass her vision for Michigan, while responding to the rising costs that average Michigan residents are facing. In what she hopes will provide immediate relief, Governor Whitmer announced the “Lowering MI Costs” plan that will roll back the retirement tax, expand the Working Families Tax Credit (formally the Earned Income Tax Credit), and provide Pre-K for all families.
Governor Whitmer shifted to another problem facing our state – an educated workforce. To solve this problem, she will focus on two things: economic opportunity and personal freedom. The “Make it in Michigan” program will provide a sustainable funding source for economic development efforts. The goal is to create opportunities for residents while supporting local economies and small businesses across the state.
On the education front, the governor reiterated her goal of 60% of residents having a degree or skills certificate by 2030. She called for continued funding of the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, funding for apprenticeships and initiatives, and would like to see the age of the Michigan Reconnect program lowered from 25 to 21. Starting younger, she called for funding “MI Kids Back on Track”, investing in tutoring, after-school programs, and other learning supports for students in the K-12 sphere.
Shifting focus, Governor Whitmer called for a number of items, including repealing the 1931 law banning abortion and expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. She views this as part of the whole package that will attract, and keep, people living in Michigan.
Governor Whitmer touched on safety, calling for funding for law enforcement training, continuing to work to get illegal firearms off the streets and support for prosecutors. In what will surely be controversial, she called for universal background checks for firearm purchases, the enactment of safe storage laws for firearms in homes and enacting extreme risk protection orders.
As has been the case for many years, the governor touched on infrastructure and the deterioration of roads and bridges throughout the state. Touching on the need to continue to appropriate funding to tackle this problem, as well as utilizing federal resources.
In the coming weeks, Governor Whitmer will present her executive budget recommendations, which she said will have a number of programs and funding proposals to build upon what she spoke about tonight. Closing her address, Governor Whitmer spoke on how she is open to working with anyone to solve the challenges facing our state because as she sees it, it’s our duty.
For more information, please visit Michigan.gov/StateOfTheState.
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