Honigman Capitol Report


2023 State of the State Address

Governor Whitmer made history last night as the first Democratic governor in 40 years to speak to a Legislature under complete control of her party. Whitmer delivered her State of the State address focusing on proposals related to lowering costs for Michiganders, the Make it in Michigan Program, fundamental freedoms related to abortion and the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, Education and Public Safety. The state has a projected $9.2 billion surplus to work with this year. Notably absent from her speech was the repeal of the Right-to-Work law, which legislative Democrats indicate is a top priority.


Lowering MI Costs

The Governor highlighted plans to roll back decade old changes to retirement income taxation and expansion of a tax credit for low-income workers. Whitmer’s goal is to eliminate the so-called pension tax for seniors saving half a million households $1,000 annually.

She also proposed an expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit for all low-income earners in Michigan. The Working Families Tax Credit is based on a share of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), currently 6%. While many states have their own version of the tax credit, Michigan is one of the less generous programs. Senate Democrats are proposing to increase the tax credit from 6% to 30% beginning in 2022 which will cost $441.6 million annually according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.

Whitmer also called for expanding the Great Start Readiness Program so that all 4 year olds have access to Preschool. Currently the program is available to children whose family household income is up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Make it in Michigan

The Governor next touted the success in bringing jobs and investments to Michigan over the past year highlighting the new chipmaker in Bay City and battery plants in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids and Van Buren Township. In order to continue growth, the Governor is proposing the Make it in Michigan program which focuses on sustainable funding by bringing more supply chains into Michigan and appealing to companies on the cutting-edge of manufacturing. In order to create a talent pipeline and prepare Michiganders for new workforce efforts, Whitmer is proposing lowering the age for people without a college degree to qualify for tuition-free associate’s degrees or skills certificates from 25 to 21 under the Michigan Reconnect program.

Fundamental Freedoms

Next, Whitmer cited “standing up for their freedoms” as a key element for attracting and retaining young people in Michigan. In order to do so, the Governor opined that repealing the 1931 abortion ban, and expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community are key measures to make Michigan a welcome place of opportunity.

Education and Public Safety

Whitmer also proposed increased funding for tutoring and infrastructure under the MI Kids Back on Track Plan. This plan offers every child personalized learning support by investing in tutoring, after-school programs and other learning support systems.

The Governor next called for better training, oversight and mental health resources for law enforcement officers. In addition to proposing changes to law enforcement training and funding, Whitmer also urged the legislature to introduce legislation that requires universal background checks for all firearm sales and mandates safe storage of weapons. The Governor further stated that she will push for extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, allowing individuals or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily confiscate an individual’s weapons by showing that the person is a risk to others or themselves.

Republican Response

Republican Party

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) provided the GOP’s official response to the State of the State. Nesbitt focused on issues related to rising grocery prices and Whitmer’s veto record. The Senate Minority Leader also cited Whitmer’s previous proposals to increase gas and business taxes as key indicators of the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Media Contact

To request an interview or find a speaker, please contact: press@honigman.com

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