Gov. Whitmer announces plan to end pandemic, grow the economy
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the state’s COVID recovery plan to grow the economy and help end the pandemic.
The plan includes a focus on vaccine distribution, economic recovery, and ways to get students back on track.
“To help grow and strengthen our economy, we must provide crucial support for our families, small businesses, and frontline workers,” said Governor Whitmer. “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.”
More details on the governor’s plan, provided by the governor’s office.
--- PUBLIC HEALTH ---
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: Michigan is ready to ramp up vaccination distribution, which will help us get back to normal as quickly as possible. Last month, Congress appropriated $90 million in additional resources for vaccine distribution in Michigan through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The governor’s plan will use this federal funding to ramp up vaccine distribution in Michigan and bring us closer to our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day. This funding will help provide financial support to local health departments for vaccine administration costs, including staff augmentation, as well as provide equipment and supplies. Michigan will also receive $575 million to expand COVID testing, tracing, and lab capacity in Michigan.
--- JOBS AND ECONOMY ---
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS: As part of the governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan, the governor’s plan provides $225 million for three new programs from the MEDC:
-The Michigan Mainstreet Initiative will help stabilize our small business community by securing grants for restaurants and other place-based businesses to keep our Main Streets vibrant and our communities resilient.
-The Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative will help us put small businesses with less than nine employees on the path to recovery by creating greater access to much needed support.
And the Business Accelerator and Resiliency Initiative will provide grants to high-tech startups that can help our communities thrive.
GOOD JOBS FOR MICHIGAN: Governor Whitmer called on the Michigan Legislature to pass Good Jobs for Michigan to help Michigan retain and grow our businesses and create jobs. The Good Jobs for Michigan Program provides Michigan businesses with a crucial tool to create jobs and thrive in our state. Pfizer was the first business to utilize Good Jobs for Michigan, and did so to build their sterile drug manufacturing plant and create 450 good-paying jobs in Portage - the same Portage plant that the first doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccine shipped from at the end of last year. It’s time for the legislature to pass this bill and send it to the governor’s desk.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan includes a call on the Michigan Legislature to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks. 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.
FOOD ASSISTANCE: As of fiscal year 2019, one in eight Michigan residents received food assistance. Governor Whitmer’s Michigan COVID Recovery Plan will provide more support for families through food assistance so more Michiganders can afford to put food on the table for themselves and their families.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE: The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2201, will provide the State of Michigan with funding to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor’s plan will allocate this federal funding to help more Michiganders stay in their homes.
OFFICE OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT: The governor will create an Office of Rural Development tasked with coordinating work across state government to address issues facing rural communities—including broadband, talent, infrastructure, and more. The MI COVID Relief Plan will also include grants to provide infrastructure and capacity support in rural communities and support for land-based industries.
PROPERTY TAX ASSISTANCE: The governor’s plan includes funding to waive penalties and interest for certain property owners who did not pay their summer 2020 property taxes on time as a result of economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic .
TALENT: The governor’s plan will provide targeted employment and training services through the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to connect unemployed and underemployed Michigan residents with training and resources necessary for gainful employment. The program will prioritize residents from underserved or economically distressed communities to provide them with the skills needed for entry into registered apprenticeships in the energy sector to help drive Michigan’s energy transition.
RECONNECT/FUTURES FOR FRONTLINERS WRAPAROUD SUPPORTS: The governor’s plan includes a pilot providing wrap-around supports for up to 400 single parents who participate in the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs. Participants will receive on-campus childcare, intensive personalized advisement, educational supports including tutoring, career counseling and assistance in transitioning to a 4-year school.
--- EDUCATION ---
SCHOOLS: As part of the recent actions from the federal government, Michigan was allocated nearly $1.7 billion through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). The governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan will allocate this federal funding, along with an additional $300M in state dollars, to help schools meet the Governor’s goal of providing every student with an in-person learning opportunity by March 1, and to help address the learning loss that has occurred due to 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.