Print Friendly and PDF

Chamber’s Perspective on Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a centrist appeal in her fourth State of the State address. COVID-19 once again altered the setting for the speech, and Gov. Whitmer traveled to Southeast Michigan to speak from the Detroit Diesel plant in Redford Michigan. She centered her speech around a belief in Michigan’s strength and resiliency and “kitchen table issues”. Many of the issues and initiatives that Gov. Whitmer discussed will impact businesses, Chamber members, and the state’s economy.

Key Highlights from the Speech

  • An increase in funding for education
  • A push to return to students to the classroom
  • Eliminate Pension Tax
  • Tripling the state’s earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers
  • Lower insulin costs
  • $2500 EV Rebate
  • Expand resources for mental health
  • A call for unity

Chamber Perspective on Key Initiatives

EV Tax Incentive

Gov. Whitmer made a significant proposal to support Michigan’s signature automotive industry, boost Michigan’s economy, and increase the adoption of the next generation of vehicles. The governor proposed a new $2,500 electric vehicle rebate for families that purchase an EV, with $2,000 going toward defraying the cost of the vehicle and $500 for installation of an in-home battery charger. The state tax incentive could be combined with the federal government’s $7,500 rebate on EVs.

“If we get this done, we can lower the cost of electric vehicles by nearly $10,000,” she said. “We can make it easier for Michiganders to go electric.”

This will position Michigan as both the home of mobility and a national leader in EV adoption. Furthermore, by adopting these credits, the Legislature and the Governor can build on the economic development gains of December to continue to lead Michigan forward.

Economic Development Tools

On Monday, Dec. 20, Gov. Whitmer signed the bipartisan Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) package to support small businesses and fully fund a historic economic development toolkit. Big bipartisan wins for Michigan are increasingly rare, especially ones that have a transformative impact on our economy.

The Chamber and MICHauto were able to deploy the full advocacy team in Lansing and the Detroit Region to connect with legislators and other partners around the state to push for the passage of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund bills. The passage of the SOAR package was instrumental in General Motors’ plan to spend $7 billion and create up to 4,000 new jobs at two plants (Lake Orion and Delta Township). GM’s battery plant investments are a big win for the state and reflect Michigan’s global leadership in automotive innovation, workforce, and talent.

Earned Income Tax Credit

Gov. Whitmer called for increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for lower-income workers. The governor’s proposal calls for restoring it to the 2011 level of 20%.

Tripling the earned income tax credit is a perfect example of strategically and responsibly changing the tax code to support working families in Michigan and help incentivize individuals back into the labor force.  At a time when businesses are still struggling to find workers, it is critical that we have a tax code that rewards work.

Increasing Education Funding and Access

Gov. Whitmer also highlighted the key Chamber priority of expanding education access and increasing funding to ensure that 60% of Michigan residents have a two-year, four-year, or professional certificate by 2030. The Chamber’s 60 by 30 plan was adopted by the state in 2019, and is critical to expand talent in the workforce, increase prosperity, and ensure that Michigan is competitive on a global stage.

The Chamber will continue to monitor the Governor’s and Legislature’s proposals.