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Gov. Whitmer Proposes Tax Cuts and Lower Education Cost

Fox 2 Detroit

In the first State of the State address of 2023, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke about several important policies and programs dealing with Michigan’s toughest issues including gun control, inflation and education.

The speech took place on Jan. 25 in the Michigan House Chambers and was broadcasted live.

Whitmer started by announcing three pieces of legislation with the intention of easing the impact of inflation. 

“I’ll get right to the point. Tonight I’m excited to announce ‘Lowering MI Costs,’ a plan offering immediate relief. It’s got three parts,” Whitmer said.

The three parts mentioned include a bill to repeal the retirement tax, expanding the tax credit for working families and financial assistance for pre-K.

Right now, in the state of Michigan, retirees are expected to pay taxes on pensions which Whitmer said in her speech, “hurts people.” She said, “Repealing the retirement tax will make a huge difference for our seniors. Ultimately it will save 500,000 households an average of $1,000 a year. That’s money for prescriptions, for groceries and gas, for gifts for your grandkids.”

Her next proposal was an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which gives a tax break to low-income workers and families. 

“The Working Families Tax Credit, formerly known as the EITC is a bipartisan tax break at the federal and state level. Boosting it delivers an average refund of at least $3,000 to 700,000 families.” 

Whitmer made reference to a house bill enacted in 2011 during Rick Snyder’s time as Governor which lowered these tax cuts. 

“These two tax changes will right a wrong inflicted on Michiganders 12 years ago. In 2011 seniors and hard working families had the rug ripped out under them when the retirement tax was enacted and the Working Families Tax Credit was gutted. It was wrong and now we can make it right.”

The final part of Whitmer’s plan to lower costs is state-funded preschool which exists as the Great Start Readiness Program

“Pre-K for all serves families an average of $10,000 savings a year compared to their current pre-k or childcare,” Whitmer said. She said her goal for the program was to, “expand our bipartisan preschool effort, the Great Start Readiness Program so every 4-year-old in Michigan can access a free, public preschool education by the end of my second term.”

Whitmer then briefly moved onto talking about voting rights saying, “Together we are going to expand voting rights, protect election workers and expand on last year’s bipartisan law to help military members and their families overseas to make sure their votes get counted, too.”

She also touched on economic expansion in Michigan and the importance of domestic manufacturing. 

“The last few years of economic shocks in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have demonstrated that a domestic supply of chips and energy is tied to national security,” she said. “Let’s increase domestic, clean energy production like wind and solar so we can produce more energy in America instead of overseas.”

She then moved onto talking about higher education and the Sixty by 30 initiative which hopes to increase the number of Michiganders with a degrees or skills certificate to 60% by 2030. “Let’s keep funding the bipartisan Michigan Achievement Scholarship which lowers the cost of education, community college, private, public, university by thousands of dollars for most students and makes college tuition free for 65% of graduating seniors.”

Whitmer also announced a proposal for Michigan Reconnect, which makes community college tuition free, to lower its age requirement from age 25 to 21. “Over 113,000 Reconnectors have been accepted and we want that number to grow,” she said. 

She quickly made mention of her plans to repeal laws that restrict access to reproductive health care including the 1931 abortion ban which is currently barred from enforcement, as well as wanting to expand the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act. The act currently prohibits discrimination based on sex, familial status, religion, race, height and weight, but the proposed expansion would include sexual orientation and gender identity. In regard to these issues she said, “I’ll go to any state that restricts people’s freedoms and win business and hardworking people from them. I’m looking at you Ohio and Indiana”

Whitmer then moved onto the topic of education, speaking about her statewide tutoring plan called MI Kids Back on Track. “Unfortunately the last few years have disrupted regular learning patterns. In-class instruction alone is not enough,” she said, likely referring to the COVID  lockdowns. The proposal would invest $280 million into “tutoring and other learning supports across the state,” according to a Michigan government press release.

In regard to public safety Whitmer spoke about the Operation Safe Neighborhoods program and her goals to get illegal firearms off the streets. She then proposed tighter measures saying, “Let’s enact universal background checks for people who want to buy firearms. Let’s enact safe storage laws so we can make sure firearms are stored safely at home and let’s enact extreme risk protection orders so we can keep guns out of the hands of those who might represent a danger to themselves or others.”

Whitmer very briefly touched on the MI Healthy Climate Plan saying, “This year we should make bold investments in climate action to deliver on our targets.”

She closed out her address by offering her words of encouragement to the people of Michigan. “Let’s embrace our duty. Let’s show everyone that the cure for cynicism is competence. Let’s lead by example as a state of hardworking, happy warriors.”  


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