Gov. Gretchen Whitmer April 9 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers remarks at her April 9, 2021, news conference.

(The Center Square) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has revealed her list of spending priorities for the anticipated influx of $14 billion appropriated to the state from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest billions in Michigan’s families, communities, schools, and small businesses,” Whitmer said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “The American Rescue Plan will help us build back better, preparing our state for the future while creating thousands of jobs and uplifting working families. I look forward to working with the legislature to put these dollars to work in a strategic way that builds on our shared priorities. Let’s get it done.” 

The state government in Lansing will receive $5.7 billion in ARP funding, in addition to $4.4 billion allocated directly to local governments, and another $3.9 billion for K-12 schools.

Many Michiganders have already received their apportionment of an estimated $4 billion in ARP federal stimulus checks sent to the state.

“Michiganders expect and deserve state leaders to work together to ensure the spending of the federal funds is done in a way that transforms Michigan into a better place and helps our residents and businesses,” State Budget Director David Massaron said in a statement.

“Michigan will be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states if we do not get this right,” Massaron continued. “This type of funding opportunity is rare, and these dollars must be invested wisely to contribute to sustainable and shared prosperity.” 

According to the governor’s news release, she is prioritizing job creation, infrastructure, health care access, and childhood education. Among the priorities Whitmer’s office listed are:

  • Grant programs for small businesses to keep main streets vibrant and communities resilient; support for Michigan’s community development financial institutions to complement the traditional lenders supporting businesses through Paycheck Protection Program loans; and creation of a small business accelerator to provide startup capital and support for entrepreneurs. 
  • Business attraction efforts to invest in future technologies, mobility, and advanced vehicle technology research & development, as well as investments in workforce opportunity and talent retention.
  • Infrastructure investments to grant access to clean drinking water, broadband, public green space, climate resilient dams and local infrastructure.
  • Expanded access to behavioral health supports; additional services to the aging and expanded options to age in place; and redesigned and integrated access to state benefits. 
  • Expanded access to preschool and child care; addressing pandemic learning loss; creating out-of-school learning opportunities; providing wraparound supports for mental health and social-emotional well-being; creating safe learning environments; and providing incentives to improve teacher recruitment and retention efforts. 

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.