Governor Whitmer delivered her fifth annual State of the State address in her second term, in person at the State Capitol in Lansing.
On January 25, Governor Gretchen Whitmer began her 2023 State of the State address by proclaiming, “Tonight, let’s talk about what we can do and where we’re going, together. We are eager to chase our bright future with hustle and grit. Michigan, the state of our state is: strong and ready to go.”
The fifth annual State of the State address in her second term is Whitmer’s first in-person delivery since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor delivered key remarks in front of a joint session of the Michigan Legislature with the administration’s policy proposals front and center, helping to bolster the lives of Michiganders with a competitive edge, including providing tax relief for seniors and low-income families, expanding accessibility to free pre-school programs for all Michiganders, reducing gun violence and increasing funding for law enforcement, and reclaiming manufacturing projects and supply chains back to Michigan.
LOWER MI COSTS
Whitmer rolled out her “Lowering MI Costs” plan in three main parts:
- Rolling back the retirement tax, saving half a million households $1,000 a year;
- Expanding the Working Families Tax Credit, delivering at least $3,000 refunds to 700,000 families; and
- Pre-K for All to save families an average of $10,000 a year and ensure every 4-year-old in Michigan gets a head start in education.
“Repealing the retirement tax will make a huge difference for our seniors. 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. I fought this tax as a legislator and as governor because I knew it hurt people,” said Whitmer.
The two tax changes are intended to “right the wrong inflicted on Michiganders 12 years ago” to give residents a fighting change toward closing the health and wealth gap. She called for the expansion of “the Great State Readiness program,” a bipartisan preschool effort promised to provide free, public school education by the end of her second term.
Wayne RESA’s Superintendent Dr. Daveda Colbert issued the following statement in response to Governor Whitmer’s State of the State Address today, praising the Get MI Kids Back on Track plan and the desire to transition to a universal pre-K program over the coming four years.
“Tonight’s State of the State Address was welcome news for educators, students and parents across the state as Governor Whitmer laid out her plans to continue to strengthen Michigan’s education system. The Get MI Kids Back on Track plan would add a critical tool in the toolbox for educators as districts are focused on improving outcomes for students in Wayne County. By allocating additional funding to districts for tutoring and after-school programming, we can ensure schools and families have the resources they need to help students excel.”
MAKE IT IN MICHIGAN
Whitmer also announced her Make it in Michigan plan to reinvigorate the state’s manufacturing and supply chain sectors by returning outsourced cutting-edge projects and jobs back home.
“Make it in Michigan proposes a sustainable funding source for our economic development efforts while growing talent, making our communities better places to live, and helping our state become a place where anyone can thrive,” said Whitmer.
She reminded the legislature that bipartisan collaboration has brought home $13.5 billion worth of projects, with nearly 13,000 jobs secured, and has continued to court national and international business leaders to continue investing in Michigan.
REPEALING ABORTION BAN AND SAFEGUARDING CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS
Whitmer applauded the works of voters and advocates across the state in reinforcing people’s right to make decisions about their own bodies in response to the historic SCOTUS decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade. Taking it a step further, the governor called for repealing the 1931 law banning abortion and other policy measures that restrict access to reproductive health.
In addition, she called for expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976, which
“prohibit(s) discriminatory practices policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.”
“Protecting these freedoms is the right thing to do and it’s just good economics,” said Whitmer. “States with extreme laws are losing talent and investment because bigotry is bad for business. We should build on our reputation as a welcoming beacon of opportunity where anyone can succeed.”
Whitmer called for funding MI Kids Back on Track before spring break, to offer every child personalized learning support to get them back on track for long-term success. This would include expansive tutoring programs to help students master critical skills sets and information.
“When a child gets a great start, learns to read and graduates high school, they are on track to land a good-paying job or pursue higher education. Unfortunately, the last few years have disrupted regular learning patterns. In-class instruction alone is not enough—our children need more support to master the skills we know they need most,” said Whitmer.
Public Safety and Gun Control
Whitmer said since she’s been elected to office, the state has invested $1 billion in public safety and is committed to continue funding law enforcement “with better training, oversight and access to mental health resources.”
She announced the launch of Operation Safe Neighborhoods with the focus on removing the flood of illegal firearms off the streets before a violent crime is committed. In addition, she called for enacting preventative measures such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders and safe storage laws.
To view the recording of Governor Whitmer’s entire 2023 State of the State Address, visit here.
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