LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined an agenda Wednesday that would prioritize stricter gun laws, repeal restrictions on abortion and who can outdated laws on marriage and provide preschool to all 4-year-olds in the state.
Whitmer outlined her agenda in her fifth State of the Union address, her first since winning re-election.Her plan could become a reality if Democrats take full control of state government For the first time in decades.
Speaking to the full Legislature on the House floor, Whitmer pledged to continue fighting for “robust protection of our fundamental rights” after voters passed proposals to expand voting rights and protect abortion rights in the state constitution.
She also called on the legislature to enact stricter gun laws, including universal background checks and safe storage laws.
“The time for nothing but thoughts and prayers is over. Now is the time for commonsense action to reduce gun violence in our communities,” Whitmer said in prepared remarks.
The State of the State speech was one of the first that Whitmer was able to summarize specific legislation for the coming year, and Republicans criticized the governor for not outlining a broader plan to help Michigan residents look forward to the speech.
“She owns the House, the Senate, and herself. Where’s the road plan? Where’s her infrastructure plan?” House Republican Leader Matt Hall told reporters. A statement on the new government program of ? “
Michigan budget surplus expected to hit $9.2 billion by next fallwhich has a $4.1 billion school aid fund.
Whitmer also touted her “Reduce MI Costs” program, which she said would save families an average of $10,000 by providing free preschool to all 4-year-olds.
By providing preschool to more than 100,000 4-year-olds each year, Whitmer will deliver on a promise she first made when she ran for governor in 2018. She said the plan, which will take four years to implement, will help “parents, especially moms, get back to work, and it will open hundreds of preschool classrooms and support thousands of jobs across Michigan.”
Whitmer’s plan “will ensure that every 4-year-old in Michigan is a free pre-school education at the end of their term.”
President Joe Biden and other Democrats tried and failed in 2021 Among the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” proposals is universal pre-K in all states, including Michigan — one of Biden’s campaign promises.
The full “Reduce the Cost of MI” proposal would also include the previously announced repeal of the retirement tax and a substantial increase to the state’s income tax credit.
While Whitmer and other Democratic leaders in the Legislature announced the tax cuts at a news conference Jan. 12. The scope of the relief is still being negotiated by the legislature. The Senate Housing and Human Services Committee introduced a bill Tuesday that would increase the income tax credit from 6% of the federal credit to 30% retroactively through the 2022 tax year.
House Republicans also appear to agree with increasing the tax credit. Rep. Bill G. Schuette of Midland said in a statement that he was “pleased” that Senate Democrats amended the bill to retroactively carry through to the 2022 tax year.
Whitmer did not specifically mention Senate Democrats’ plans in her statement, but she said the boost to the tax credit would “provide an average combined rebate of $3,000 to more than 700,000 working families in Michigan.”
After an event in Lansing on Tuesday, Whitmer told reporters her “first goal” was to eliminate the tax on retirees, but said “a lot of discussion and negotiation” was still needed.