Governor Whitmer presents plan to revive Michigan economy and end COVID-19 pandemic


LANSING, Mich. – Governor of Michigan. Gretchen whitmer on Tuesday presented its plan to revive the state’s economy and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Here are the 11 parts of Whitmer’s plan to jumpstart Michigan’s economy and end the COVID pandemic

“To help grow and strengthen our economy, we need to provide critical support to our families, our small businesses and our frontline workers,” said Whitmer. “The MI COVID Stimulus Package will help small businesses through the winter, help us put more shots and increase vaccine distribution, and get our kids back on track in school. It is the right thing to do to protect public health and revive our economy, and I am ready to work with the legislature to make it happen. “

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“The governor’s MI COVID stimulus plan includes crucial support for our small businesses, our educators, our students and support staff, and our overall public health,” said state budget director Dave Massaron. “This is a plan to help our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and help Michigan compete. To make these investments even more valuable, the immediate action of the legislature to renew Good Jobs for Michigan is vitally important to generate more opportunities for our residents. “

“While still down more than $ 1 billion from pre-pandemic projections, state revenues for fiscal 2021 have increased upward primarily due to the impacts of the federal stimulus. as well as the strong leadership of Governor Whitmer, ”said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks. “Our economic recovery is highly dependent on controlling the public health situation, and its actions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic have improved our budgetary outlook. The MI COVID stimulus package will help us jumpstart our economy. Our economic recovery this year will continue to depend on the development of the pandemic and additional economic relief from Washington DC. This plan will direct the dollars to where they are needed most and help us achieve the economic recovery we all look forward to. “

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Here are more details on the plan:

Vaccine distribution

Congress allocated $ 90 million in additional resources to distribute vaccines in Michigan last month.

Whitmer’s plan is to use this federal funding to increase distribution in the state and move closer to the goal of administering 50,000 vaccines per day.

The funding will also provide financial support to local health services for costs associated with administering immunizations, including personnel, equipment and supplies.

Michigan will also receive $ 575 million to expand COVID-19 testing, tracing and laboratory capacity.

Support for small businesses

The plan includes $ 225 million for three new programs from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Michigan Mainstreet Initiative is designed to help stabilize the small business community by securing grants for restaurants and other local businesses.

The Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative is designed to help small businesses with fewer than nine employees on the road to recovery by creating better access to support.

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The Business Accelerator and Resiliency initiative is designed to provide grants to high-tech startups that can help the community thrive.

“Small businesses are critical to the turnaround of our communities,” said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “As the upcoming reopens approach, the Main Street Initiative will target much-needed support to some of the hardest hit local businesses. “

“This plan addresses some of the major issues that must be overcome to win Michigan’s COVID-19 recovery: alleviating learning loss, rebuilding small businesses, attracting new jobs, and upgrading our workforce,” said Jeff Donofrio, President and CEO of Business Leaders. for Michigan. “We are encouraged by the one-time investments proposed for each of these priorities and look forward to working with the governor and leaders of our state to recover and get back on track to become a Top 10 state.”

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Works

The governor called on Michigan lawmakers to adopt Good Jobs for Michigan, saying it would help the state keep and grow its businesses and create jobs.

The Good Jobs for Michigan program is designed to help businesses create jobs and prosper. Pfizer was the first company to use Good Jobs for Michigan and did so to build its sterile drug manufacturing plant and create 450 well-paying jobs in Portage.

It was to this Portage plant that the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were shipped at the end of last year.

Unemployment

Whitmer again calls on lawmakers to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks.

“This would bring Michigan in line with 40 other states and provide hard-hit Michigan workers the financial security and peace of mind they need and deserve,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Food aid

Whitmer said his plan would bring more support to families who need help getting food on the table during the pandemic.

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“On behalf of Michigan families, seniors and children facing the toxic stress of food insecurity, the Food Bank Council of Michigan welcomes the relief provided by current federal legislation,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, Director Executive of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. . “It’s fair, moral and more than necessary. The pandemic has skyrocketed demand for food by 50%, a staggering statistic that places a huge demand on our regional food banks. “

Rental assistance

The Federal Emergency Rent Assistance Program, set out in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, will provide the state with funding to help people who cannot afford rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

Whitmer said his plan would allocate this federal funding to help more Michiganders stay at home.

“Keeping people safe and healthy in their homes is one of the most important things we can do right now to slow the spread of the coronavirus while we vaccinate,” said Eric Hufnagel, executive director of Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. “This rent assistance funding will help Michigan residents who are struggling to meet their landlord’s payment deadlines – the same business owners who also often depend on this source of income to pay their own bills.”

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Rural Development Office

Whitmer is in the process of establishing a Rural Development Office, which will be responsible for coordinating work within state government to address issues facing rural communities, including broadband, talent, infrastructure, etc. .

Its plan will also include grants to provide infrastructure and capacity support in rural communities and support to land-based industries.

Property tax assistance

The governor’s plan includes funding to waive penalties and interest for some homeowners who failed to pay their summer 2020 property taxes on time due to the economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talent

Whitmer said his plan would provide targeted employment and training services through the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities. This will connect unemployed and underemployed Michigan residents with the training and resources needed for paid employment, she said.

The program will prioritize residents of underserved or economically struggling communities to equip them with the skills they need to enter recorded apprenticeships in the energy sector to help with Michigan’s energy transition, according to the. State.

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Futures for frontliners

This plan includes a pilot project providing comprehensive support to up to 400 single parents who participate in the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs, Whitmer said.

According to Whitmer, participants will benefit from on-campus childcare, intensive one-on-one counseling, educational supports including tutoring, career counseling and assistance with the transition to a 4-year-old school.

Education

Michigan recently received nearly $ 1.7 billion from the federal government through the Elementary and High Schools Emergency Relief Fund.

The MI COVID Stimulus Package will allocate this federal funding, along with an additional $ 300 million from the state to try to help schools meet the goal of providing every student with an in-person learning opportunity. by March 1 and to help remedy the learning loss. that happened due to the pandemic.

These one-time, flexible dollars will be distributed according to a formula that recognizes the additional costs associated with supporting students in poverty and students with special needs, Whitmer revealed.

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“In order to safely educate Michigan students, schools and educators must have the funding to implement and adhere to virus mitigation measures,” said Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart. “COVID-19 has impacted every district in the state and every district needs resources to continue educating Michigan students. This is why the Governor’s proposed additional per-student funding is so essential, in addition to providing additional support to the individual needs of Michigan’s at-risk and special education students.

“We have to accept that some students need more funding in order to fairly meet their educational needs, and this plan is an important step in that direction,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker . “This includes, but is not limited to, the federal government’s investment in Title 1 funding which devotes significant resources to helping at-risk students whose learning is disproportionately affected amid this pandemic.” . “

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