LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer held the State of the State Address in the nearly 144 year old Michigan Capitol, speaking to an in person audience following COVID-19. She began the historic speech by also recognizing the historic nature of the new leadership.
“I am honored to stand between Speaker Joe Tate and Majority Leader Winnie Brinks. Both are firsts—the first Black Speaker and the first woman Majority Leader,” Governor Whitmer said, “They will certainly not be the last.”
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Rather than providing an extensive list of policies, the governor grouped people into three categories that would be affected by her proposals: folks caring for themselves and families, young people about to graduate, and Michiganders born today.
The Governor identified the retirement tax as a very important issue for senior Michigan citizens.
“Repealing the retirement tax will make a huge difference for our seniors,” Gov. Whitmer said, “Ultimately, it will save 500,000 households an average of $1,000 bucks a year. That’s money for prescriptions, groceries, gas, or gifts for grandkids.”
But cutting spending for adults was not the only priority, children particularly under the age of six were also a priority.
“Lowering MI Costs goes further to save people money,” Gov. Whitmer said, “Part 3 [of the plan]—pre-K for all—saves families an average of $10,000 a year compared to their current pre-K or child care.”
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To accomplish these massive savings for families, the governor is seeking bipartisan support to expand the already joint party effort through 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,” she said.
She made perhaps the greatest appeal to the young graduates and prospective life long Michiganders which inhabit the state by creating “opportunity that lasts for decades.” She acknowledged how the state has increased opportunities in a bipartisan way.
“Since [just over a year ago,] we have brought home over $13.5 billion worth of projects including: A chipmaker in Bay City. Battery plants in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, and Van Buren Township. And Big 3 investments across Michigan,” Governor Whitmer recognized, “Heck, there’s a new GM battery plant being built just down the road. Our work is paying off, with nearly 13,000 good-paying jobs secured.”
But besides ensuring a long lasting economy and a job market to keep young graduates and workers in the state, the governor revealed several key social reforms to attract more young people. At the forefront of these reforms were repealing the 1931 abortion ban and adding stricter gun legislation.
“Let’s repeal other dangerous laws prohibiting people from accessing reproductive health care or shaming them for seeking it in the first place,” Whitmer said, “The time for only thoughts and prayers is over, it’s time for common sense actions to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods.”
Though her comments about taking jobs from Ohio and Indiana failed to bring the entire legislature to their feet, she acknowledged that she would be willing to work with anyone serious about solving problems to move Michigan forward.
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