Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Chamber Perspective on the 2024 State of the State Address

Chamber Perspective on the 2024 State of the State Address

January 25, 2024

Photo credit: Whitmer Administration.

Key Takeaways

  • Proposals are designed to retain and attract residents to the state, including the skilled talent graduating from the state’s universities. 
  • Economic development and education items align with Chamber policy priorities and existing initiatives.  
  • The MI Vehicle Rebate is intended to make Michigan the easiest state in which to own an EV.  


View the full State of the State address below.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her sixth State of the State address on Jan. 24, where she introduced proposals to lower costs, expand economic development, continue record investments in education from preschool to college, and more. The Detroit Regional Chamber compiled the most relevant proposals and takeaways for the business community.

On the State’s Economic Development

During her address, Whitmer expressed Michigan’s dire need to “win the race for the future” by upgrading its bipartisan economic development toolkit. Among this toolkit are the following initiatives: 

  • An R&D Tax Credit to encourage innovation while lowering costs for businesses in the state. Michigan is the only Great Lakes state with no R&D incentive like this. 
  • Beginning the HIRE Michigan initiative to lower overall taxes for businesses that hire more Michiganders as employees.  
  • Designing “Renaissance Zones” to spur investment in areas of the state that are too often left out or left behind by lowering the cost of doing business in them.   
  • The Innovation Fund to invest in early-stage startups and help launch new Michigan-based companies. This will help build the infrastructure for innovation so founders can start and build their companies in Michigan.  

Chamber Perspective: The Chamber has been engaged with the Whitmer Administration and legislative leadership on the creation of the proposed economic development package. HIRE Michigan will help boost new job creation in Michigan, bringing new residents to the state and retaining the skilled talent graduating from the state’s universities. New and established employers can access this program, incentivizing more job creation in the state and Detroit Region.  


Additionally, an R&D tax credit that mirrors the federal tax credit and has wide-spanning qualifications is necessary to compete within the Great Lakes region, country, and global marketplace. This has been a Chamber and MICHauto priority for many years, and the Chamber applauds the administration for including this priority in the address.  

On State and Regional Education

Whitmer also proposed making the first two years of community college tuition-free for every high school graduate. This will save students an average of $4,000 as they earn an associate degree or skills certificate at a community college, helping them land a better-paying, high-skill job in Michigan. Whitmer also wants to provide access to free pre-K for all four-year-old Michiganders in the next state budget, which may help Michigan parents save up to $10,000 in childcare costs.

Chamber Perspective: As active participants in the bipartisan Growing Michigan Together Council, which first recommended tuition-free community college, the Chamber applauds the Governor’s proposal. The Chamber has consistently noted that educated talent drives economic prosperity, representing a bold step toward making Michigan a leader in promoting greater access to higher education while aligning with existing Chamber policy and programming.  


This proposal must be coordinated with four-year universities to maximize its effectiveness and ensure students have opportunities to pursue high-demand associate degrees and efficient transfer pathways to bachelor’s programs. Additionally, by boosting access to quality early education through the proposed universal pre-K, child care burdens for working parents can be alleviated, increasing labor pool participation, and strengthening the local economy. 


Related: Aligning the Business and Workforce Community With Higher Education 

On Building and Preserving Michigan Housing

The State of Michigan will make the most significant investment to build housing in Michigan history, nearly $1.4 billion to construct or rehabilitate nearly 10,000 homes. That is 10 times the state’s investment to build housing 10 years ago. 

Chamber Perspective: Finding affordable housing for employees has been a struggle for employers across the Detroit Region during some of the most aggressive housing markets ever seen. The Chamber believes continued funding for programs that rehabilitate old homes and open the doors to generational wealth for Michigan residents and employees is critical for filling job vacancies and growing Michigan’s prosperity and population. 


Related: How Employers Can Help Solve Michigan’s Housing Affordability Crisis 

On Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Rebates

Whitmer also discussed the MI Vehicle Rebate, a new state tax rebate designed to lower the cost of a new electric, hybrid, or traditional vehicle, saying it could save Michiganders up to $10,000 when combined with federal incentives. Michiganders will receive the tax rebate on new vehicles under four categories:

  • $2,500 on a new battery electric or hybrid vehicle manufactured in a facility where an automotive union represents the workers.
  • $2,000 on a new battery-electric or hybrid vehicle.
  • $1,500 on a new internal combustion vehicle in a facility where an automotive union represents the workers.
  • $1,000 on all other new internal combustion vehicles. 

Chamber Perspective: The clean energy and electric vehicle transition is happening. Therefore, Michigan must be a leader in the technology development, manufacturing, and adoption of EVs. The Chamber and MICHauto applaud the MI Vehicle Rebate effort, which will encourage ease and balanced supply and demand during this critical transition. 


Related: An EV Reality Check 


On the Caregivers Tax Credit

Whitmer also previewed a plan to provide a state income tax credit worth up to $5,000 for caregivers who spend $7,000 a year on average caring for older relatives or children with long-term care needs. Eligible expenses would include counseling, transportation, and nursing or respite services.

Chamber Perspective: In 2023, the Chamber took the lead in ensuring the Working Families Tax Credit was expanded to help those juggling being a parent while working a full-time job. Legislation for this new tax credit will be carefully monitored by the Chamber, emphasizing keeping employees active in the workforce.