When running her campaign, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was going to “fix the damn roads.” On Jan. 26, in the State of the State address, she brought this promise back to the forefront.
“Since I took office, Michigan has repaired, rebuilt or rehabilitated over 13,000 lane miles of road and over 900 bridges,” Whitmer said.
The State of the State address, occurring this year on Michigan’s 185th anniversary, detailed Whitmer’s main policy proposals for 2022 and outlined her accomplishments since taking office. What Whitmer referred to as "kitchen table issues," such as tax reform, insulin regulation, electric vehicles and mental health, dominated her discussion in policy proposals for the upcoming year.
First, Whitmer said she would like to repeal the retirement tax, which she first called to repeal in 2019.
“If we phase it out over the next few years, we can save half a million households in Michigan an average of $1000 a year,” Whitmer said. “That’s money for prescriptions, rent, car payments or gifts for grandkids.”
The taxes in question are in regard to a tax on income from pensions, 401Ks and IRAs, Whitmer said.
Further, Whitmer proposed to increase the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, which is included in annual tax refunds. She referenced the 2010 combined federal and state EITC, which averaged in a $3,000 credit. Although, the state only contributed an average of $435 that year, according to a 2012 report from the Michigan Department of Treasury.
“Restoring the EITC lifts more than 22,000 people out of working poverty,” Whitmer said. “And it sends 730,000 families an average refund of almost $3,000 that they can use to pay the bills.”
Whitmer also proposed support for recently introduced bills to cap the cost of insulin at $50 a month. Attorney General Dana Nessel also recently launched an investigation into Eli Lilly, an insulin manufacturer, for high prices.
“We all agree, insulin costs too much, and I know we can work together to hold drug companies accountable, to lower costs and to save lives,” Whitmer said.
In regard to electric vehicles, Whitmer proposed an additional $2,500 rebate for new electric vehicle purchases, which would build on the current federal $7,500 rebate.
Her final proposal of the address was directed at mental health. Whitmer said the state should work on expanding Michigan’s Loan Repayment Program for mental health workers and also increase investment in worker retainment and recruitment. She also said she would propose further investment in mental health in next year’s school aid budget.
Whitmer also lent support for the federal CHIPS Act, which would establish investments and incentives in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and development.
At the beginning of the address, Whitmer highlighted the progress the state made in Soo Locks construction, reinstating prevailing wages for state construction contracts, allocations for small-business relief, increased police funding, the construction of veteran’s homes and increased education investment.
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