tv Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Delivers State of the State Address CSPAN January 27, 2022 4:30am-4:59am EST
gov. whitmer: good evening, michigan. today is our state's 185th birthday. to celebrate, we are at detroit diesel. built in 1938 to help us when world war ii peered a lifetime later, it is on the cutting edge of electric vehicle technology built by the hard-working men and women of uaw 163. places like this are where michigan's future will be forged. i am thrilled to be here to deliver my state of the state address. before we begin, let's take a moment to honor those who are not with us. let's remember the four young michiganders we lost in oxford. madison, kate, hannah, justin. those living with lifelong injuries and carrying the weight from that horrific day. the oxford community is in all of our hearts. michiganders, if you want to oxfordcommunityvictimsfund.com. let's remember the 30,000 michiganders we have lost to
covid-19 and thank the first responders, health care professionals, michigan national guard for everything they do to keep us safe. michigan's national guard is the best in the country. they go above and beyond at home and oceans away. recently, i had the honor of pinning purple hearts onto three guard members who were injured during a ballistic missile attack in iraq. michiganders salute their sacrifices. they represent the best of us. i also want to acknowledge my partner in governance. lieutenant governor garland gilchrest. his innovative optimistic champion for michigan. i am so glad to have him by my side. finally, i want to thank my husband, my girls, my family and friends. i love you. clearly, this year's speech is different. due to covid, we are not at the
capital. right now, health care professionals are working hard to keep us safe as omicron surges. while 2021 was not as miraculous as any of us wanted, we have made progress. we are stronger in large part thanks to science and life-saving vaccines. we have come a long way and i am encouraged about the path ahead. after a polar vortex, a pandemic, a national recession, multiple flooding events and a kidnapping and murder plot, i have been asked how the heck do i keep doing this. my answer is simple. i show up for every michigan family. i want to keep delivering on the kitchen table issues. on a personal level, i want my girls to see their mom stand her ground, live her values even
through unexpected challenges and constant threats. isn't that what we all want? to make a difference for the people we love most? the truth is we want the same things. a good paying job. great schools. clean water. safe communities. thriving small businesses. a chance to get ahead and hope for our future. tonight, i will stay focused on the things that unite us. i will speak to the progress we have made together, the opportunity we have right now, and why we all believe in michigan. the state of our state is strong and getting stronger every day. first, let's talk about the roads. the pandemic showed us it has slowed us down a bit. since i took office, michigan has repaired, rebuilt or
rehabilitated over 13,000 lane miles of road and over 900 bridges in every region of our state while supporting 82,000 jobs. that is enough miles to drive from the michigan-ohio border all the way to the mighty mac over 40 times. in 2021 alone, we fixed i-496 in lansing, 196, 69, 94 in kalamazoo, u.s.41 in marquette and we are forging ahead on the gordie howe bridge in detroit. it will be taller than the statue of liberty when completed. recently, the army corps of engineers answered our call to invest, securing funding in sault ste. marie or that is a
big deal for the state economy. we get the best trained workforce and the best value for our tax dollars. now the task on infrastructure from roads to lead pipes, it is large due to decades of neglect and underfunding. that is why we are fixing our roads and bridges with the right mix of materials so they stay fixed. we are creating good paying jobs along the way. the kind you can raise a family on with solid benefits and a secure retirement. thanks to many in our congressional delegation and our federal partners, we have billions more headed our way from the bipartisan infrastructure plan that we will use to turbocharge our efforts. so when you see the construction
orange, number one, slow down. there are people working. number two, those orange barrels mean we are moving dirt and fixing the damn roads. i know at times our nation's capital feels hopelessly gridlocked. as our state capital, republicans and democrats have showed we can come together to put michiganders first. together, we delivered over four -- $420 million in relief to small businesses, empowering them to expand operations and retain over 200,000 jobs through covid. we expanded access to high-quality childcare and now, over one in three children in michigan 12 and under are eligible for low or no cost childcare. you can go to michigan.gov/childcare to see if you are eligible. for our michigan state police
who protect and serve with the utmost professionalism, we built new posts in walker and grand rapids. for law enforcement, we funded better training, delivered hazard pay and expanded resources to local police departments. as a former prosecutor, public safety is a core issue for me. we will keep making investments to reduce crime and protect families. our criminal justice system reforms have helped hundreds of thousands of michiganders who served their time secure jobs and housing with a clean slate. together, we cared for those who served our nation by building a new veterans home in mccullen county and another in grand rapids. we eliminated the cost barrier for 170,000 michiganders that are getting skills and better paying jobs through the michigan
reconnect and futures for front liners. these programs boost our economy and empower our people. people like caroline, a former in-home care provider and mom of two who got straight a's in her first semester of commuting college. in jodey, a reconnect recipient, the first of eight siblings to go to college. she is on the dean's list at the grand rapids community college. these programs have given them opportunity and opened new doors for their families. i want them to know we were all rooting for them. together, we made the largest education investment in state history without raising taxes. something we have done three years in a row. last year, we closed the funding gap between schools.
something that four governors before me tried to do. we have invested $8700 into every student in every district to improve their in class experience. we invested in on-campus mental health and delivered checks directly to educators who go above and beyond for our kids every day. i know how anxious and tired parents are feeling right now. as a mom, i get it. that is why i am making investments where they matter most, in classrooms. to help our kids get caught up. and to our teachers, childcare professionals, bus drivers, custodians, administration, i see you. thank you for working tirelessly to help our kids thrive. we're going to keep investing in recruitment and retention to increase your ranks.
soon, i will introduce a school aid budget that will mark the biggest state education funding increase in more than 20 years without raising taxes. i want to be crystal clear. students belong in school. we know it is where they learn best. remote learning is not as fulfilling or conducive to a child's growth. in person learning is critical to social development and mental health. that is why we will do everything we can to keep kids in the classroom. we have all been through a lot. it is rational to feel frustrated or exhausted or even cynical. fortunately, the cure for cynicism is competence. these bipartisan accomplishments are a testament to what we can do together. we must believe that better things are possible because that is the only way they ever get done.
just yesterday, we saw proof. last month, we worked together to sharpen michigan's economic development tools. this week, we landed a $7 billion investment from general motors that will create and retain 5000 good paying manufacturing jobs making electric vehicle batteries in lansing and orian township. the future of the auto industry is being built in michigan. in plants like this one by union members and we are just getting started. historically, the knock on michigan was we did not have the tools to compete with other states. we move too slowly and state government was dysfunctional. yesterday, the world saw what we can accomplish. democrats, republicans,
businesses, utilities and labor joined forces to equip michigan with solid economic tools to attract big projects and create thousands of jobs. we showed the world we have the tools. we move fast. and we work together. and michigan is going to win. that brings us to what is next. tonight, i am putting forward proposals that will build on the work we have done together and grow our economy by cutting taxes and lowering cost. first, taxes. i believe that whenever possible, we should make taxes more fair for our seniors and working families. michiganders should be able to keep more of what they earned. in december, i signed a bipartisan bill cutting the personal property taxes for small business owners.
last november, we repealed the tamp on -- tampon tax, the sales tax on menstrual products, saving women hundreds of dollars in taxes. when it comes to delivering for women, i will keep finding ways to lower their cost. i will veto any legislation that would take away their right to choose. my proposal tonight would cut taxes for seniors and working families. for our seniors, let's work together to repeal the retirement tax. i first called to repeal this tax in 2019. it is time to get it done. if we phase it out over the next few years, we can save half a million households in michigan an average of 1000 bucks a year. that is money for prescriptions, rent, car payments or gifts for grandkids. repealing the retirement tax will help real people.
people like tim from marquette or susan from jackson. tim worked for 30 years as a corrections officer. a difficult, dangerous line of work. susan and dick taught for 30 years in branch and hillsdale counties. they served their community. they saved. they did everything right. after they finally retired and budgeted on their fixed income, their pensions, 401(k)s and iras were taxed. the all had to go back to work just to pay the bills. today, tim is painting and working odd jobs. dick is a driver's ed instructor. susan worked for over a decade at a hair salon. after a lifetime of work, they are still worried about affording the essentials. when i was in the legislature, i fought the retirement tax because it was wrong.
let's make it right. we can keep our word to dick, susan, tim, and every michigander who worked hard and played by the rules. i am ready to work across the aisle to roll the retirement tax and say 500,000 households in michigan an average of 1000 bucks a year. let's talk about cutting taxes for people working full-time but who still cannot get ahead. it is time to increase the michigan earned income tax credit. the eitc is a bipartisan tax break for families, offered at the federal and state levels. it is part of the refund you get when you file your taxes. in 2010, michiganders received almost $3000 tax refund from the combined eitc. a year later, taxes on working families went up to pay for a big tax giveaway for big corporations.
that they did not need. that is not right. restoring the eitc lifts more than 22,000 people out of working poverty. and it sends 730,000 families an average refund of almost 3000 bucks they can use to pay the bills. nearly a million kids, almost half the kids in michigan, benefit when we raise the eitc. new backpacks, former coats, more hot meals. let's get that done. let's talk about how we lower costs. we are all bearing the brunt of inflation. you see yet when you buy your groceries. we have made meaningful progress to lower costs. we should build on that work now.
in 2019, i signed bipartisan auto insurance reform saving drivers hundreds of dollars a year. thanks to our reform, insurance companies are sending every driver a $400 refund check per vehicle by may 9 of this year. our secretary of state is saving michiganders time and money because we can renew our licenses and plates online or stop in the office for an average of only 20 minutes. we also lowered the cost of higher education thanks to michigan reconnect and futures for front liners. we are delivering home heating help on energy bills. families can stay warm and safe through the winter. we have done a lot of good work to lower costs. but i know families are feeling squeezed. we must do more. rolling back the retirement tax and raising the eitc will keep
more money in people's pockets. and we can ensure that less comes out. tonight, i have two proposals to lower costs on insulin and cars. and one to expand access to mental health. first, insulin. hundreds of thousands of michiganders need insulin to survive. the average cost of a single vial is almost 100 bucks. most people who use it need two or three vials a month, which is up to $3600 a year. too many michiganders are forced to ration. that puts their lives at risk. for years, drug companies have been jacking up insulin prices and the average price tripled
from 2009 to 2019. they reap billions on life-saving medicine because without serious competition, they name their own price. that is unconscionable. yesterday, attorney general dana nessel took action. she launched an investigation into one of the three largest drug companies that makes all of the insulin in the u.s. meanwhile, in the michigan legislature, there have been bipartisan bills introduced to cap the cost of insulin at 50 bucks a month. we all agree insulin costs too much. i know we can work together to hold drug companies accountable, to lower costs and to save lives. let's get that done, too. next, let's talk about making electric vehicles more affordable. as you saw this week, we are
building on our rich auto manufacturing heritage and moving toward a clean energy future. i want to talk about how we can help michigan's families be a part of the clean energy transition by lowering the cost of electric vehicles. every year, thousands more electric vehicles are sold in michigan and all of our major automakers have committed to electrifying 100% of their fleets over the next 10 to 15 years. electric vehicles cost half as much to fuel and maintain as gas powered cars. switching to electric will save families thousands of dollars a year. that is why i am proposing a combined $2500 electric vehicle rebate for families. $2000 for the car, and $500 for in home charging equipment. this will build on the $7,500 federal electric vehicle credit. we can get this done, we can lower the cost of electric vehicles by nearly $10,000. we can make it easier for
michiganders to go electric. finally, let's talk about mental health. mental health is just as important as physical health. i want every person in michigan to have access to the health care they deserve. we should invest in our mental health workforce so we can expand access. nearly 40% of michiganders do not get treatment for their mental illness. we will address the shortfall. and we will make a historic investment to retain and recruit hundreds more mental health workers. i will propose another bold investment on mental health in next year's budget building on the work we did last year to hire more than 560 nurses, counselors, and social workers.
together we can grow our mental health workforce and expand access to mental health care. tonight i've laid out my plans to cut taxes for retirees and working families, to lower costs of insulin and electric vehicles, and expand access to mental health. i will work to deliver on these kitchen table issues. i will also work to invest the federal resources we have. for the michigan new economy which will grow the middle, support small businesses, and invest in our communities. i also have a message for the folks in d.c., fund the chips act so we can fight the chips crisis head-on. we have a once in a generation opportunity on our hands. and i know that together we can
do this. they're everything we faced over the last few years, i have thought often about the time, and i stand between two generations of my own family, taking care of my newborn daughter and my mom who died of brain cancer. i adjusted to a new job, fought my mom's insurance company and care for my baby. i learned i could do more than i had ever imagined. it can be hard to stay out of the moment, but tough times make us stronger, making a difference for the people we love this is what motivates all of us. it is the reason i am standing here. it is why i get up determined and optimistic about our future. i want a better future for my girls, and all our kids. i am grateful to serve my fellow michiganders, that desire to do
drives so many of us. we all have a story when we stepped out and did more than we ever thought possible for the people we love the most. that's our spirit. and lives in our stories. we are doers united against inaction. we are activists, united against pessimism. we are believers, united against cynicism. we fight for each other, not with each other. we come together to get things done. we are capable of greatness. the question we have to ask ourselves is do we believe in michigan? i know i do. i believe because of you. i will work hard every day to put michiganders first. and i will always believe in michigan because we are strong and