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Michigan politicians respond to Whitmer's plans in State of the State address

While Democrats are in agreement with Whitmer's plans for the state, Republicans appear divided on some issues.

LANSING, Mich. — On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her fifth State of the State address, outlining her administration's plans for the next four years. 

Main points in her speech included cost-cutting measures for Michiganders, expanding opportunities and protecting fundamental rights. Gun violence and economic concerns were also addressed.

Whitmer also unveiled her plan for free preschool for all 4-year-olds in Michigan.

Michigan lawmakers are reacting to her plans with both support and opposition. In terms of Whitmer's plans to cut the retirement tax, Republican party members are not necessarily in agreement with each other.

"I mean, when the governor is talking about a retirement tax cut, it's not, it's a pension tax cut," said Rep. Bryan Posthumus. "And so if you don't have a pension, if your income isn't based on a pension, you're going to be waiting years... to benefit from this. We need tax relief right now. We need broad tax relief for all retirees, all working families, and it needs to be effective immediately."

Sen. Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) had a different viewpoint, saying Whitmer's proposed tax cut is a good starting point.

"It still needs work. It's got to be 401Ks, not just the employer portion, but everybody in there, and I think we have to implement it sooner rather than later," Huizenga said. "We need our seniors to get relief now and not in the future. So this is something I can get behind. There's still work to be done there. But it's a good start."

Michigan Democrats, who are now in control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years, appeared overwhelmingly in agreement with Whitmer's main points.

"I was really encouraged by the very clear goals the governor set," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "So without making our schools safer and ensuring our kids have a chance to grow and thrive and reach their full potential, and making sure we're doing more to cut funds, cut taxes, and give funds back to hardworking Americans and Michiganders. And I was also grateful that she really prioritized as well, not just protecting our fundamental rights and freedoms, but protecting our access to the vote." 

Rep. Joseph Fox strongly opposed Whitmer's plans. He said seniors need more support than her plans offer, and opposed her plan for free preschool, saying 4-year-olds should stay home with their mothers.

"I think that she's playing to a narrative and a narrative that is a national narrative that we have to be able to stand strong against in any way that we can," he said after the address.

Meanwhile, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is ready to implement Whitmer's proposed policies.

"This could well be the most productive January we've seen in many terms here in the State Senate. And so we're very excited about, that we aren't waiting, we already got to work on the things that she is prioritizing, and that we've been talking about for many years," said Sen. Winnie Brinks. "So we're very excited about the progress that we'll be able to make."

Watch responses to the address:

Watch Gov. Whitmer's full address:

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