LANSING, Michigan (AP) – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce a plan during her State of the State address on Wednesday to provide pre-kindergarten education to all 4-year-olds in Michigan in an effort to helping families with rising costs.
The plan, which Whitmer has pushed since she first ran for governor in 2018, could become a reality with Democrats in full state government control for the first time in decades.
relying on the state Great Start Preparation Program Covering at-risk children from low-income families, the proposal would ensure that the state’s 110,000 4-year-olds can attend preschool. The plan would save families an average of about $10,000 in child care costs, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“All parents know that an early start is critical for their child’s future,” Whitmer said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The governor’s office said the plan would be implemented over the next four years. Although the cost of the plan was not provided, Whitmer is expected to submit a budget proposal in the coming weeks.
Michigan’s budget surplus is expected reach $9.2 billion by next fallwith $4.1 billion in the school aid fund.
Former Republican Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who is now president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, said in a statement that Whitmer’s plan “will ensure that every 4-year-old child in Michigan can benefit of free pre-school education by the end of his second term.
President Joe Biden and others Democrats tried, and failed, in 2021 include universal early education — one of Biden’s campaign promises — for all states in the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” proposal.
The full “MI cost-cutting” proposal that Whitmer plans to unveil during his State of the State address in the chambers of Michigan House – Whitmer is the first in person since the 2020 pandemic outbreak – will also include a previously announced retirement tax cut and a significant increase in the state earned income tax credit.
While Whitmer and other Democratic leaders in the Legislature announced tax reduction plans at a press conference As of January 12, the extent of the relief is still being negotiated in the Legislative Assembly. The Senate Housing and Human Services Committee on Tuesday introduced a bill that would increase the earned income tax credit from a matching 6% of the federal credit to 30% and would be retroactive to the tax year. 2022.
House Republicans also appear to agree with the tax credit increase. State Representative Bill G. Schuette of Midland said in a statement that he was “pleased” that Senate Democrats amended the bill to be retroactive to the 2022 tax year.
Whitmer didn’t specifically address the Democratic Senate’s plan in her statement, but she said the increased tax credit “would provide an average combined refund of $3,000 to more than 700,000 working families across the country. Michigan”.
Following an event Tuesday in Lansing, Whitmer told reporters her “main goal” was to cancel the tax on retirees, but said there was still “a lot of discussion and negotiation” needed.
Whitmer sat down with Michigan residents at the event to discuss how inflation affects them. Salina Montes, mother of a one-year-old, broke down in tears as she described having to stay home because she couldn’t afford daycare.