LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced a series of proposed initiatives meant to help improve Michigan’s economy coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among other things, the COVID Recovery Plan would direct $225 million to three new Michigan Economic Development Corp. programs that will send grants and support to small businesses and technology startups and create a new Office of Rural Development to aid in infrastructure and talent development.
Whitmer also wants to expand food assistance support, offer more rental assistance through federal funding, and create a program to waive property tax penalties and interest.
On the education front, the plan would add support for single parents participating in Michigan Reconnect and her federally funded Future for Frontliners college tuition program, as well as send $1.7 billion in federal dollars and $300 million in state dollars to K-12 schools. The state cash would help districts meet the governor’s goal of offering at least some in-person learning by March 1.
The governor, a Democrat, also called on the Republican-led state Legislature to approve the Good Jobs for Michigan Program, which she previously proposed and which works to keep companies in Michigan and help them create jobs. She also again asked them to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks.
“To help grow and strengthen our economy, we must provide crucial support for our families, small businesses, and frontline workers,” Whitmer said in a prepared statement. “The MI COVID Recovery Plan will help small businesses get through the winter, help us put more shots in arms and ramp up vaccine distribution, and get our kids back on track in school. It’s the right thing to do to protect public health and jumpstart our economy, and I’m ready to work with the legislature to get it done.”
The plan also directs $90 million in federal funds to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine distribution and $575 million to COVID-19 testing and tracing.