Last night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her sixth State of the State address from the House Chambers of the Michigan Capitol. Here’s what the Governor shared:
- The state will set aside nearly $1.4 billion in funding to build or rehabilitate housing throughout the state. This funding, along with a mix of federal funding and money set aside through prior legislation, will be enough to make nearly 10,000 housing units available.
- The Governor announced the “Caring for MI Family Tax Credit” plan for Michigan caregivers. The plan would provide up to $5,000 in tax relief to cover expenses such as counseling, transportation and nursing or respite services.
- The Governor urged state lawmakers to pass legislation that would provide free community college tuition for all Michigan high school graduates.
- The Governor proposed Free Pre-K for all Michigan 4-year-olds in the next budget.
- The Governor encouraged MDOT to authorize the final $700 million of the Rebuilding Michigan Plan to fix Michigan’s most economically critical roads and bridges.
- The Governor highlighted the Make it in Michigan Toolkit, a part of the Governor’s economic development plan (more details below).
Takeaways for the Business Community
The Governor addressed many priority issues for West Michigan businesses, but important details and specifics won’t be available until later. As these details become available, we will seek feedback from members to determine our positions on these new items. The Governor will announce her budget proposal on February 7.
- What wasn’t mentioned: The Governor’s previous paid sick leave mandates and prescription drug affordability board were not mentioned in her address.
What’s going on in Lansing: Heading into an election year, the House is tied 54-54 until April. Special elections will be held to fill the two vacant Democratic-leaning districts in Southeast Michigan. Until then, bipartisan support is needed to pass any legislation.
Economic Development: The Make it in Michigan Toolkit
Governor Whitmer called for focus on an economic development package that was not completed last year. The three pieces of legislation will soon be receiving more attention:
- Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits (HBs 5099-5012) were introduced last year and had passed the House Chamber. Changes were made to the language that moved control of the fund from the Michigan Strategic Fund Board to Treasury, and it is now modeled after the federal R&D tax credit program.
- Renaissance Zones (HB 5096) will allow the Board of the Michigan Strategic Fund to take the responsibility to designate any remaining undesignated renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities, forest products processing facilities and border crossing facilities. This responsibility currently is done by the Renaissance Zone Review Board.
- The High-wage Incentive for Regional Employment (HIRE) program (SBs 579-581), formerly known as ‘Good Jobs’, program will allow businesses to tax capture personal income tax withholdings from new jobs created if certain targets are met.
What’s next: Both the R&D and Renaissance Zones bills had already passed the House last October and await movement in the Senate. HIRE language has been introduced to address significant concerns raised with the original proposal and will potentially receive a committee hearing as early as next week.