Gov. Whitmer looks to use COVID relief funds to help workers, small businesses

Michigan Economic Jumpstart Plan unveiled Thursday

Gov. Whitmer looks to use COVID relief fund to help workers, small businesses.

LANSING, Mich. – As Michigan slowly reopens, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled out a plan to use the Federal COVID Relief funding.

She called it the Michigan Economic Jumpstart Plan. It focuses on small business and their workers. She’s taking aim at raising wages, child care and getting people the skills they need to get back into the workforce.

The three-part plan targets key issues that keep workers out of the job market.

First, it directs $300 million to help businesses pay employees $15 an hour. Second, it sets aside another $225 million to help small businesses cover costs and $75 million for start ups.

Finally, the plan is to allocate $370 million to help 150,000 families with free or low-cost child care.

“We’ve had billions of dollars that were sent to our state over six months ago that they still haven’t completely appropriated,” Whitmer said.

According to the State Budget Office, there’s still $22 billion federal dollars that still need to be divvied up to the state after months of log-jammed talks in Lansing, which have only recently begun to break.

“I’m feeling optimistic about our future. There’s no question,” Whitmer said. “I’m looking forward to delivering on all these fronts for the people of our state. We deserve no less and this transcends all partisan lines.”

Thursday afternoon, Michigan GOP Legislature said the hundreds of millions set aside for businesses are too little, too late.

Some of that money does need to be spread out over the next four years, so not all of the $22 billion will be pumped directly into the state’s budget. Some of the money has been locked up for a while. Roughly $2 billion is money from the CARES Act passed under President Trump in March 2020.

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.