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Gov. Whitmer Signs FY 2022 Budget with Significant Chamber and MICHauto Priorities

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2022 budget on Wednesday, Sept. 29, calling it an example of what can happen when officeholders seek “common ground.”

When combined with the K-12 school aid budget signed earlier this year, the total budget is $70 billion. The funding plan, which takes effect on Oct. 1, provides strong investments for the state’s economy. The plan will lower the cost of childcare for Michigan’s working families, invest in education and skills for Michigan’s workforce, protect access to affordable healthcare, and prioritize a significant investment in a holistic infrastructure package.

During a press conference at Lansing Community College, the Democratic governor said the budget approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature brings investments in “kitchen table issues.”

“This budget really is a testament of what we’re capable of when we put the needs of the people of our state first and foremost,” Whitmer said. “This budget shows that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional government.”

The current year’s initial spending plan was $62.8 billion when Whitmer signed it into law last year. This year’s budget was based on increased federal COVID-19 relief funds and better-than-expected state tax revenues to expand investments in childcare programs, target millions of dollars for road and environmental infrastructure projects and boost the rainy day fund.

Investing in Chamber and MICHauto Talent Priorities

The budget fully funds Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners, providing direct support to help people get higher education or skills training as the state moves towards Sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of working-age adults earn a postsecondary education or skills training by 2030. This goal was first developed by the Chamber before being adopted by the state in 2019.

The investments in today’s budget will help the 167,000 Michiganders who have signed up for Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners pursue their potential and provide employers with the talent they need to succeed. The funding for Reconnect will provide a tuition-free path to an in-demand industry certificate or associate degree for Michigan adults aged 25 and older, Futures for Frontliners will pay for frontline workers to attend local community college tuition-free, and there is also additional funding for the Going Pro program, which backs employer-based training grants to help workers earn industry-recognized credentials and certificates.

“Solidifying Michigan’s role as the global mobility leader has to be a priority for our state, and that requires an investment in innovation and talent,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., Executive Director of MICHauto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “MICHauto applauds the important commitment that the Going PRO Talent Fund makes to the people of Michigan and the long-term competitiveness of our state’s signature automotive industry.”

 

Efforts to Expand the Labor Force

The budget expands low or no-cost childcare to 105,000 kids. During the pandemic Chamber, polling and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that thousands of Michigan women and men left the labor force to take care of children and older relatives. In the Chamber’s May Michigan Priorities Poll, 8.6% of respondents cited the need for child care as the most significant barrier to finding employment. The Chamber believes this will help entice people back to the labor force by expanding affordable child care.

Infrastructure 

The budget invests $196 million to repair or replace nearly 100 crumbling bridges in serious and critical condition and create 2,500 jobs. It also helps local governments prepare for climate change and extreme weather and fixes dams to mitigate flooding and other hazards. The Chamber and MICHauto continue to advocate for long-term, strategic investments in our state’s infrastructure to help spur long-term economic growth and development.