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Whitmer discusses 'Economic Jumpstart' plans

Among other things, the governor wants to invest big in child care.

LANSING, Mich. — As we continue to fight the COVID-19 virus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing her plan to spend COVID relief dollars. Her Economic Jumpstart plan addresses several areas, including housing and all levels of education. 

Nick LaFave spoke with her about all of it, including the money she wants to spend to boost childcare.

"So $1.4 billion goes toward increasing salaries for those who go into childcare, expanding seats for Great Start Readiness," Gov. Whitmer said. "It also ensures that employers can hire working families again, because their kids will have a good place for them to be while their parent is at work. 

"So on all of these fronts, it is a huge boon for us as a state, and certainly something that enters all of our benefit. So we've all these billions that have come into the states across the country from Washington, D.C., they need to be appropriated by our legislature before they can get out to help the public. 

"You know, it was six months before they moved on the first tranche of dollars that came from the Trump administration. They took a long time to get those dollars deployed, we really don't have time to waste. 

"I know the legislature is not in session right now. But I am hopeful that when they do come back to town, that they get these dollars out. And childcare is one of those places where the usual political divides maybe aren't as deep, because Republicans are hearing the same things that Democrats are hearing. 

"Families don't care about the politics of it, just get it done. And that's why we're focused on this. We think we can find common ground here."

Details of Gov. Whitmer's plan:

Affordable Housing: 

  • $100 million investment using American Rescue Plan funding
  • This can help 6,000 Michiganders find a place to call home, develop or rehabilitate 2,000 units and create 1,600 jobs

Child Care:

  • $1.4 billion plan to allow make 150,000 more families to be eligible for low or no-cost childcare
  • $225 expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program to provide every eligible child access to high-quality preschool
    • All 4-year-olds with family incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level are eligible
    • This aims to eliminate waitlists for eligible children and have 90% of all eligible children in Michigan be engaged in early learning

Higher Wages:

  • Proposed the MI Bigger Paychecks program to provide businesses grants to cover the difference between their existing hourly wage and $15

Higher Education:

  • Expanded Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect to create accessible opportunities for tuition and debt-free college

K-12 Education:

  • $17.1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief support schools across the state and help students, teachers, and schools recover from the pandemic
    • This is the largest investment in K-12 education in Michigan’s history
    • Addresses the decades-long goal of closing the K-12 funding gap

The full interview with Gov. Whitmer is below:

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