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Whitmer will tour MI to sell plans outlined in State of the State speech. Next step: budget

 Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Press Secretary Stacey LaRouche in a file photo.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Press Secretary Stacey LaRouche in a file photo.

It is an annual ritual that Michigan’s governor heads out of Lansing the day following the State of the State address to launch the job of selling the administration’s plans for the year. So, on Thursday Gretchen Whitmer took a road trip to Benton Harbor.

The Democratic governor announced a $300,000 state grant to the Berrien County Land Bank to help low-income homeowners with the costs of energy efficiency repairs and upgrades.

But the bigger reason was to promote a big spending plan to build or rehabilitate 10,000 homes across the state to create badly needed affordable housing. She met with city and business leaders and toured a housing development.

“Together, we will ‘build, baby, build’ more housing, lower costs for homeowners, and ensure everyone can make it in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a press release from her office.

Future stops will focus on specific aspects of her agenda.

“Governor Whitmer is going to be traversing the state of Michigan to highlight the great proposals she outlined in State of the State,” said Whitmer Press Secretary Stacey LaRouche.

Those also include two years of tuition-free community college for all Michigan high school graduates, and a variety of business incentives to attract employers or encourage hiring.

The governor will also roll out her budget proposal for the coming fiscal year on February 7.

“And that will go into a little bit more detail on how these proposals will be funded, but the great thing – Michigan’s economy is in good order,” said LaRouche. “Our state is in a really fiscally strong position and we’ll be able to fund these proposals without raising taxes.”

Swift action in the Legislature on any of the governor’s plans could be slowed by the temporary 54-54 split in the Michigan House until two vacancies are filled in special elections this coming spring. The House remains under Democratic control during that period.

The Senate is also closely divided. Some Republicans have indicated they plan to call for tax cuts as part of budget bargaining.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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