Governor outlines plan for millions in aid for people, businesses, schools
Fri, 01/22/2021 - 2:25pm caleb
Michigan COVID Recovery Program announced on Tuesday, January 19, needs approval from legislature
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced a proposal on Tuesday, January 19 – the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan – aimed at bolstering education, public health, and the state’s economy using millions of dollars allocated from the federal government as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create a variety challenges in the state.
“To help grow and strengthen our economy, we must provide crucial support for our families, small businesses, and frontline workers,” Governor Whitmer said. “The MI COVID Recovery Plan will help small businesses get through the winter, help us put more shots in arms and ramp up vaccine distribution, and get our kids back on track in school. It’s the right thing to do to protect public health and jumpstart our economy, and I’m ready to work with the legislature to get it done.”
The “public health” portion of the plan addresses COVID-19 and vaccines with a plan to allocate federal money toward the vaccination effort.
“Michigan is ready to ramp up vaccination distribution, which will help us get back to normal as quickly as possible. Last month, Congress appropriated $90 million in additional resources for vaccine distribution in Michigan through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The governor’s plan will use this federal funding to ramp up vaccine distribution in Michigan and bring us closer to our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day. This funding will help provide financial support to local health departments for vaccine administration costs, including staff augmentation, as well as provide equipment and supplies. Michigan will also receive $575 million to expand COVID testing, tracing, and lab capacity in Michigan,” according to the governor’s office.
The Michigan COVID Recovery Plan seeks to provide “$225 million for three new programs from the (Michigan Economic Development Corporation): The Michigan Mainstreet Initiative will help stabilize our small business community by securing grants for restaurants and other place-based businesses to keep our Main Streets vibrant and our communities resilient. The Michigan Microenterprise Support Initiative will help us put small businesses with less than nine employees on the path to recovery by creating greater access to much needed support. And the Business Accelerator and Resiliency Initiative will provide grants to high-tech startups that can help our communities thrive.”
The “Jobs And Economy” section of the plan also asks the legislature to approve the Good Jobs for Michigan Program to help businesses in the state, extend “unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks,” “more support for families through food assistance,” rental assistance “to help more Michiganders stay in their homes,” “grants to provide infrastructure and capacity support in rural communities and support for land-based industries” as part of the governor’s creation of the Office of Rural Development, waiving of some property tax penalties caused by “economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” employee training services, help with child care and other support for people participating in the Futures For Frontliners program, and money for Michigan schools (with a “goal of providing every student with an in-person learning opportunity by March 1”).
Will the Michigan legislature approve the plan?
Governor Whitmer, during an online press conference on Tuesday, January 19, expressed optimism.
“I know that sometimes – especially in this political environment – that people want to draw firm lines,” Governor Whitmer said. “I know that the Republican legislature would never want to stand in the way of making sure that these federal dollars get to our kids’ schools or to our ability to build up our apparatus to get people vaccinated, our public health. I know that the Republican legislature wouldn’t stand in the way of aid for businesses that are struggling right now. That’s what this COVID Recovery Plan is. I’m sure that they wouldn’t stand in the way of us putting these dollars to work and run the risk of having the federal government pull them back.”