LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed a massive plan to help jumpstart Michigan’s economy and ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan was broken into 11 parts in the state’s official release. You can see them all below.
Whitmer’s plan is to use $90 million in federal funding toward vaccine distribution in the state. Right now, the goal is to administer 50,000 vaccinations per day.
Health departments across the state would also receive money to pay for staffing and equipment needed to administer the vaccines.
Michigan will receive $575 million to expand COVID-19 testing, tracing and lab capacity, Whitmer said.
Whitmer is once again calling on legislators to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks. She has done so regularly at her weekly COVID-19 briefings.
“This would bring Michigan in line with 40 other states and provide hard-hit Michigan workers with the financial security and peace of mind they need and deserve,” Whitmer said in a release.
Small business support
The plan includes $225 million for three new programs from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Michigan Mainstreet Initiative: Designed to stabilize the small business community by securing grants for restaurants and other place-based businesses.
Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative: Will give small businesses with less than nine employees greater access to support.
Business Accelerator and Resiliency Initiative: Provides grants to high-tech startups that can help the community thrive.
Whitmer is asking the Legislature to pass Good Jobs for Michigan. She said it would help the state grow its businesses and create jobs.
Good Jobs for Michigan was created to help businesses create jobs and thrive.
Whitmer pointed to Pfizer as an example of a company that utilized Good Jobs for Michigan. She said Pfizer built its sterile drug manufacturing plant and created 450 jobs in Portage, from where the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were ultimately shipped.
Whitmer said her plan will give more support to families who need help putting food on the table during the pandemic.
“On behalf of Michigan families, seniors and children faced with the toxic stress of food insecurity, the Food Bank Council of Michigan welcomes the relief in the current federal legislation,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “It is right, moral and beyond necessary. The pandemic has skyrocketed demand for food by 50%, a staggering statistic the places a huge demand on our regional food banks.”
No additional details about this part of the plan, such has how much support will be put toward food assistance, have been released at this time.
The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help people who can’t pay for their rent and utilities due to the pandemic.
Whitmer said her plan will allocate this federal funding to help more Michiganders stay in their homes.
Office of Rural Development
Whitmer is creating an Office of Rural Development, tasked with addressing issues facing rural communities, including broadband, talent, infrastructure and more.
Her plan will also include grants to provide infrastructure and capacity support in rural communities and support for land-based industries, according to the state.
Property tax assistance
The governor plans to waive penalties and interest for certain property owners who didn’t pay their summer 2020 property taxes on time because of economic hardship created by the pandemic.
Whitmer said her plan offers targeted employment and training services through the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
Unemployed and underemployed Michigan residents with get the training and resources they need to find gainful employment, she said.
The program will prioritize residents from underserved or economically distressed communities. The goal is to give them the skills to enter into registered apprenticeships in the energy sector.
That, in turn, will help drive Michigan’s energy transition, according to the state.
Futures for Frontliners
The plan includes pilot providing wrap-around support for up to 400 single parents who participate in the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs, Whitmer said.
Participants will receive on-campus childcare, intensive personalized advisement, educational supports including tutoring, career counseling, and assistance in transitioning to a four-year school, according to Whitmer.
The MI COVID Recovery Plan will allocate nearly $1.7 billion in federal funding, along with an additional $300 million in state money, to try to make sure all schools can offer in-person learning by March 1.
Whitmer said the funding will help address learning loss caused by the pandemic.
These one-time, flexible dollars will be distributed through a formula that recognizes the additional costs associated with supporting students in poverty and students with special education needs, Whitmer revealed.