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Whitmer promotes kids, jobs, health and small businesses in $5.7 billion spending plan

Michigan is slated to receive $18 billion from the American Rescue Plan and stimulus checks
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to direct Michigan’s $5.7 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act toward children’s services, job creation, health, infrastructure and small businesses support.

Whitmer unveiled her plan Monday for how to spend the state’s share of about $18 billion heading to Michigan from the $1.9 trillion federal spending bill approved in February. Local governments across the state are slated to receive $4.4 billion while schools get $3.9 billion in addition to stimulus checks already sent to most residents.

Here are the key points in Whitmer’s plan:

  • Grant programs for small businesses, along with an accelerator to help entrepreneurs find financial support. Additional support for community development financial institutions.
  • Investing in efforts to attract businesses working with future technology, mobility and advanced vehicle technology.
  • Investing in drinking water, broadband internet, public parks, dam maintenance, environmentally friendly projects and other infrastructure around the state.
  • Additional investments in public health programs and expanded access to behavioral health support, including more services for the aging population. One focus area would involve redesigning and integrating access to state benefits.
  • Expanding access to preschool and child care while addressing learning loss that students experienced during the coronavirus pandemic. The effort includes out-of-school learning opportunities and incentives for teacher recruitment or retention.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest billions in Michigan’s families, communities, schools and small businesses,” Whitmer said. “The American Rescue Plan will help us build back better, preparing our state for the future while creating thousands of jobs and uplifting working families.”

Like previous federal COVID-19 stimulus packages, all of the state spending must be approved by the Republican-led Michigan Legislature. Whitmer said she looks forward to working with lawmakers on putting the billions of dollars to work on shared priorities.

Business groups and chambers of commerce from across the state sent a letter to Whitmer and lawmakers calling for a thoughtful approach in spending the American Rescue Plan Act dollars to make long-term strategic investments for Michigan’s future.

State Budget Director David Massaron said Michiganders expect leaders from both political parties to work together in deploying the federal funding to help residents and businesses across the state.

“Michigan will be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states if we do not get this right,” he said. “This type of funding opportunity is rare, and these dollars must be invested wisely to contribute to sustainable and shared prosperity.”

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