Earlier this week, Gov. Whitmer gave the 2022 State of the State address. We heard about the biggest successes and challenges Michigan has experienced over the last year and her vision for the year ahead. For those of you who were unable to view the speech — and for those of you who can never get enough political commentary — here is a brief overview of the speech and a few thoughts on what it means for our community.
The governor’s message was simple: Michigan is strong because of our people. There is nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together. Gov. Whitmer highlighted a few big accomplishments, many of which couldn’t have happened without bipartisan collaboration across our divided state government. In a nod to her call to fix the roads, Whitmer reported that Michigan has repaired or replaced 13,198 lane miles of roads — including several completed and scheduled repairs to I-496 right here in Lansing — and 903 bridges, while supporting 82,000 good-paying, skilled trades jobs. In addition, the state invested $2 billion in water infrastructure to ensure our natural resources are protected and everyone has access to clean drinking water.
Here in Lansing, we understand that fixing our infrastructure means more than just our roads and bridges. I was glad Gov. Whitmer also focused on the importance of maintaining and investing in the human infrastructure of our communities. Last year, we expanded access to low-cost or free child care for 1 in 3 kids across the state and passed a budget with historic levels of funding for public schools. We passed laws (like my bill to establish the Michigan Reconnect program) that allowed 170,000 Michiganders to pursue a college degree or skilled trade credential. A bipartisan effort to spur economic development in our state led to a multi-billion dollar manufacturing investment from GM, creating thousands of new jobs right here in the Capital Region. When you invest in the people of Michigan, it always pays off.
We now find ourselves in a moment of opportunity, as estimates show an additional $5.8 billion in revenue projections over the next three years. Let’s take this moment to focus on moving the needle on big-ticket items that truly matter for working families — that means creating a more equitable tax structure and creating a health care system that works for everyone. I am excited by Gov. Whitmer’s proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and repeal the retirement tax for seniors. As a state, we need to lend support to those who have given us so much over the years. Gov. Whitmer also spoke about her plan to reduce the cost of insulin and increase access to mental health services, especially for students. These are issues my Democratic colleagues and I have championed for years, and it is my hope that, with the governor’s leadership, we can come together across the aisle to finally accomplish these goals.
I believe in Michigan because I know when the rubber meets the road, we will always support each other and do what’s right for our community. I look forward to your continued partnership to ensure Michigan and Lansing provide the utmost opportunity for years to come.