Governor Whitmer’s first term as Michigan’s governor has been a historic four years.
On December 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-193 creating the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and to educate and help protect the health and safety of Michigan residents.
Photo courtesy of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office
By TNCP Staff
LANSING, MI—Throughout the first four years of her term, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has worked hard to deliver real change, make a difference in people’s lives, and make Michigan one of the best places to live, work, and invest in the country. The history books will show that it was not easy, especially during the pandemic. Somehow, Governor Whitmer and her team continue to relentlessly work on programs that she feels will benefit the state of Michigan as a whole despite the challenges. The vitriol from Republicans, minor controversies nor a kidnapping plot prohibited her from doing what she thought was the best for Michigan.
“Since I took office, I have been laser-focused on the fundamental kitchen-table issues that affect Michiganders every day: education, skills training, childcare, infrastructure, water, and good-paying jobs,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last four years to fix the damn roads, expand access to education, skills training, and childcare, invest in clean water, create jobs, lower costs for working families, and pay down $14 billion in debt without raising taxes by a dime. Going into my second term, I am committed to working with anyone to build on this progress and continue to make a difference for Michiganders across our state. Let’s get it done.”
“Since taking office in 2019, Governor Whitmer and I have worked hard to build a more just, equitable, and prosperous Michigan where everyone can thrive,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “I am proud of the work we have done to reform Michigan’s criminal justice system, close healthcare and economic equity gaps, and connect more Michigan families and small businesses to economic opportunity through high-speed internet. For the next four years, I look forward to standing tall with Governor Whitmer to deliver real change that makes a difference for every Michigander.”
11 Numbers that Define Governor Whitmer’s 1st Term
- 4 balanced, bipartisan budgets
- $14 billion in debt paid down without raising taxes by a dime
- $9,150 for every Michigan student, a record investment to close the school funding gap and get students the resources they need to succeed in the classroom
- 16,000 lane miles of roads fixed
- 30,000+ auto jobs announced because of bipartisan economic development
- 150,000 more kids eligible for accessible, affordable childcare
- $4 billion of investments to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities
- 186,000 Michiganders and counting on a tuition-free pathway to higher education thanks to Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs
- 2.2 million women who can continue to access reproductive healthcare
- 23,000 households, small businesses, and other locations connected to affordable, high-speed internet
- 25,550 new or rehabilitated apartments or single-family homes thanks to affordable housing investments.
Making Historic Investments in Kids, Schools, and Skills
|From her first day in office, Governor Whitmer has worked to expand opportunities and improve outcomes for Michigan’s children. She made the largest education investment in state history—without raising taxes—to close the funding gap between schools in Michigan, expand access to preschool program for all eligible 4-year-olds, and distribute resources to expand mental health supports for our kids. She’s invested in education professionals and created tuition-free pathways to be a teacher.|
Governor Whitmer continues to secure historic investments in students and schools
- Put Michigan students first with $9,150 per student funding, the highest ever state funding without raising taxes and directing more resources to the students that need them most.
- Since the Governor took office in 2019, she has raised per pupil funding by $1,279, a 16.2% increase.
- Closed the funding gap between schools, ensuring every school district has the same baseline funding.
- Opened 100 school-based health clinics, expanded access to after-school programs, and increased on-campus mental health professionals, including school counselors and psychologists.
- Secured $214 per student to respond to local mental health and school safety needs.
- Provided resources to Oxford Community Schools to hire and retain mental health professionals, enhance security measures, and provide flexible learning opportunities.
- Made our schools safer—including a $250 million investment in school infrastructure.
- Tripled literacy coaches serving in schools to help every child read by third grade.
- Proposed temporarily suspending the Michigan sales tax on school supplies, part of her MI Back to School Plan to help families get ready for the upcoming school year.
Governor Whitmer has made historic investments in teachers, staff, and students
- Created the Mi Future Educator Scholarship offering $10,000 scholarships to 2,500 future educators annually, funded Grow Your Own programs helping districts train school staff to become teachers tuition-free, and backed the Troops-to-Teachers program helping those who served find jobs as educators. Taken together, these programs will hire or train an additional 10,000 teachers.
- Invested $10 million in 2021 and additional $285 million in 2022 to support teacher recruitment, training, development, and retention.
- Introduced MI Kids Back on Track, a plan to tackle unfinished learning and secured over $50 million to expand tutoring and other forms of personalized instruction across the state.
- Established the Michigan Parent’s Council to bring in parent perspectives to the state education budget process.
Governor Whitmer is focused on cutting costs for higher education
- Set the Sixty by 30 Goal to have at least 60% of Michiganders earn a degree or skill certificate by 2030 and created the Office of Sixty by 30 to lead the state’s efforts.
- Created the Michigan Achievement Scholarship to make college more affordable for high school graduates. Starting with the class of 2023, students will be eligible for an annual scholarship worth up to $5,500 depending on where they go to college and family need.
- Strengthened our community colleges and universities with operational increases—including establishing minimum per student funding at universities for the first time.
- Secured $250 million to create a new scholarship program to make college more affordable for more Michigan students.
Read more about investments in kids, schools, and skills here.
Empowering Small Businesses
Governor Whitmer is committed to supporting small businesses as Michigan continues growing its economy.
- Added 220,000 jobs in 2021, drove down unemployment and took Michigan from a projected $3 billion deficit to a $7 billion surplus.
- Signed bipartisan economic development legislation and a billion-dollar budget to empower Michigan to win huge manufacturing projects and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs.
- Collaborated with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to attract over $11 billion in investments from over 30 companies in the first half of 2022.
- Launched MI New Economy, a $2.1 billion plan to grow Michigan’s middle class, support small businesses, and invest in communities.
- Signed a $1.4 billion investment in childcare to expand access to high-quality childcare, support childcare businesses, and invest in childcare professionals.
- Expanded access to free preschool for 22,000+ more four-year olds through the high-quality, homegrown Great Start Readiness Program.
- Expanded access to affordable childcare for 150,000 more children. Now, a family of four earning up to $55,500 is eligible for free or low-cost childcare.
- Launched MI Tri-Share Childcare Program, an innovative childcare program that partners with business to lower costs of care for families in 59 counties.
Read more about Governor Whitmer’s work in empowering small businesses here.
Growing the Economy and Creating Good-paying Jobs
Governor Whitmer is laser-focused on growing Michigan’s economy and ensuring every community can thrive. Michigan has ushered in the fastest small business growth in 23 years, was the number state for energy job growth in 2021, and has received multiple awards for its strong manufacturing capabilities and potential. Governor Whitmer will continue pursuing investments in infrastructure, higher education and skills programs, and industries of the future to create even more good-paying jobs and usher in a new era of prosperity for Michigan.
- Signed bipartisan economic development bills creating the Strategic Outreach Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund to empower Michigan to win large manufacturing projects and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs.
- Delivered a bipartisan supplemental package to bring the SOAR fund to $846 million, empowering the state to keep attracting billions in private investment.
- Signed a bipartisan tax cut, reduced tax burden, and increased tax flexibility for small businesses, enabling them to grow and create jobs.
- Outlined an economic vision with a $2.1 billion plan, MI New Economy, to grow Michigan’s middle class, support small businesses, and invest in communities.
- Proposed a roll back of Michigan’s retirement tax to save half a million households an average of $1,000 a year.
- Proposed tripling the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit to give over 730,000 working families an average combined federal and state tax refund of $3,000.
- Eliminated the tampon tax, saving families from paying taxes on up to $4,800 in spending over the course of a lifetime.
- Reinstated prevailing wage for state construction projects, ensuring working people in Michigan receive a fair wage.
Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has announced over 30,690 new good-paying auto jobs.
- GM announced a $7 billion investment in Lansing and Orion Township creating 4,000 jobs and a $2.2 billion investment to build Factory Zero creating 2,000 jobs.
- Stellantis announced the first new plant in Detroit in nearly 30 years, creating 6,000 jobs. They also announced an $83 million investment at their Dundee Engine Complex.
- Ford announced a $1.45 billion investment creating 3,000 jobs to help produce the first-ever electric F-150. Made another $250 million investment creating 450 jobs to boost production. Also won a $2 billion investment creating 3,200 jobs increasing capacity across several Southeast Michigan plants.
Governor Whitmer continues to bring manufacturing back to Michigan.
- Hemlock Semiconductor announced a $37 million investment creating 170 good-paying jobs at its headquarters Thomas Township.
- SK Siltron announced a $300 million investment creating 150 jobs in Bay City.
- KLA announced a $150 million investment creating 600 good-paying jobs in Ann Arbor.
- Wacker announced a $50 million investment supporting 300 jobs to open a cutting-edge innovation center in Ann Arbor.
- Calumet Electronics announced a $6.5 million investment creating 80 jobs in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Read more about Governor Whitmer’s effort in growing the economy and creating good-paying jobs here.
Long-Term Economic Goals
The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration’s focus on the economy is driving the state towards bold, long-term economic goals:
- Meet the sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of working-age Michiganders earn a postsecondary education or skills certificate by 2030
- Become a top-ten state for small business growth, revenue growth and venture capital funding in five years
- Build 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units
- Grow the middle class and lift 100,000 families out of working poverty
- Ensure 100% access to high-speed internet in five years