Chamber Weighs In: COVID-19 Relief Must Be a Lame Duck Priority

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As the Michigan Legislature enters lame duck, COVID-19 relief is top-of-mind. There is a lot at stake for Michigan’s businesses as the state continues to battle the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. In the wake of the pandemic’s latest surge and a three-week pause issued by the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on legislators to pass a $100 million stimulus to boost unemployment payments, offer aid for hospitals and businesses across the state during lame duck. This state-level approach comes as ongoing requests for additional Federal support from Congress remain entangled in a stalemate.

The Governor’s call for targeted COVID-19 relief is in line with the Chamber’s perspective on support needed for the state’s businesses to endure the economic implications of this public health crisis. The Chamber’s Vice President of Government Relations, Brad Williams, recently shared this sentiment in Crain’s Detroit Business with a lame duck lookahead outlining five key areas of legislation that could help Michigan accelerate its economy including COVID-19 relief measures.

Among those is helping employers provide life-saving PPE for employees and customers – a cause the Chamber’s government relations team continues to champion. The Chamber was instrumental in the formation and movement of a package of bills that would exempt purchases of PPE from the sales and use taxes and provide a refundable income tax credit to employers, alleviating some of the crippling financial strain COVID-19 has imposed. Including these Chamber-backed measures in Gov. Whitmer’s proposed $100 million stimulus plan would offer businesses some relief from the additional burden of PPE-related expenses.

Further, the Legislature and Governor should prioritize renewing the Good Jobs for Michigan package as part of the stimulus plan to best equip Michigan to attract and grow jobs as the state emerges from the public health crisis. The Chamber has long supported this program as a key tool in building Michigan’s workforce and long-term economic prospects. Making efforts to bolster the state’s talent pipeline, especially under these complex circumstances, will better position Michigan for the recovery it needs to continue moving the economy forward.

As legislators return for session this week, it is imperative that executive and legislative leadership works collaboratively to make progress toward COVID-19 relief for businesses – to help them stay open in the safest possible way for employees and patrons alike and continue bolstering the local economy. As this crisis approaches the nine-month mark, the division between Michigan’s executive and legislative leaders has become glaring and unproductive as businesses grapple with the continuously mounting challenges of COVID-19. A unified approach and clear strategy to usher the state’s economy through and beyond this crisis cannot wait and must take precedence during lame duck.


Related:

Brad Williams: 5 Ways Lawmakers Can Help Michigan’s Economy in Lame Duck


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