Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is working on a plan to make education more accessible for the children of Michigan. She wants to make prekindergarten education free for all the 4-year-olds in Michigan. These plans were devised with intention of relieving the families of financial pressure amid rising costs of living.
During her State of the State speech, the governor said, “Let’s expand our bipartisan preschool effort – the Great Start Readiness Program – so every 4-year-old in Michigan can access
It was reported by the Gander Newsroom, a Courier Newsroom publication, that the governor has been pushing for this plan back in 2018 when she first ran for the position of governor. However, Whitmer might be able to actualize this longstanding plan due to the control the Democrats now have in the state government. Something that had not been possible in the past decade.
In 2021, another attempt had been made by President Joe Biden and other Democrats to provide universal preschool as this was one of his campaign promises. However, this plan did not work. He had proposed this as part of the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” proposal, which would have seen free preschooling for all states.
According to the governor’s office, it is expected that the program will ensure savings of $10,000 on average for families with 4-year-olds. These are substantial savings that will have a huge impact on the State, given that there are 110,000 attendees of prekindergarten in Michigan. Whitmer’s plan builds on the pre-existing Great Start Readiness Program, which was designed for at-risk children from low-income households.
The governor will be presented with a proposed budget for the plan, outlining the costs involved in realizing this plan. It is expected that this plan will be implemented over the course of the next four years. According to the Courier Newsroom publication, gaining funds for this program may not be an issue, as Michigan’s budget surplus will be $9.2 billion by Q3 of 2023, with another $4.1 billion going toward the school aid fund.
Her proposed plan seems to enjoy bipartisan support. A former Republican Lt. Gov.
In a news conference held on Jan. 12, Whitmer and fellow Democrats had announced plans to also introduce tax cuts. These plans, however, are yet to be finalized as the extent of these cuts is still being debated in the legislature. On Tuesday, a bill was moved by the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee, which proposes raising the Earned Income Tax Credit from 6% to 30% match of the federal credit. They also want the law to apply retrospectively to the past tax year.
While the details on this plan remain sparse, in absence of any indications from Gov. Whitmer, it is expected that over 700,000 families in Michigan could get refunds of up to $3,000, reported the Courier Newsroom publication, the Gander Newsroom.
Whitmer has prioritized undoing the tax on retirees. However, she said while talking to reporters at an event on Tuesday, the main obstacle in achieving this is the huge amount of discussion and negotiation that is yet to happen.
During the event, Whitmer had said down with Michigan’s families to develop a better understanding of how the everyday lives of people were being impacted by the rising costs of living. She heard from many people, including one distressed mother who broke down because she was unable to afford daycare and had to stay back home to take care of her 1-year-old.