Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) at a press conference announcing Whitmer’s “Make it in Michigan” economic plan during the Mackinac Policy Conference on May 31, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled the first piece of her “Make it in Michigan” economic development strategy Wednesday during the first full day of the Mackinac Policy Conference.
The plan consists of three pillars: projects, people and places.
“These three P’s will support our long-term vision for Michigan,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer focused on the first of the three during a press conference with state Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit).
Whitmer said there are several sites throughout the state that could house new factories but need upgrades to be ready. The plan includes funding to help convert brownfields and other abandoned properties into spaces that are ready for business investment, she said.
“Site selection is a critical factor when businesses are looking to expand,” Whitmer said. “In Michigan, we have a lot of properties that need a little TLC to be ready for their second life.”
Specifics of how much the plan would cost were not available, Whitmer said, as the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget is still being negotiated. The next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.
The platform also includes a planned Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund aimed at earning federal funds from the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Billions in federal resources are on the table,” Whitmer said. “That includes semiconductors and clean energy, two sectors where we have a lot of natural strengths.”
Whitmer said she hopes the state will “bring home more than our fair share of federal resources.”
Additional details on the “people” and “places” pillars of the platform will be announced in the coming weeks, Whitmer said.
“The motivation and philosophy behind these priorities is the same,” Whitmer said. “We want anyone and everyone to be able to make it in Michigan.”
The former will be focused on ensuring that residents “can pursue their potential from pre-K through post-secondary with the personal freedoms they deserve,” while the latter is intended to “revitalize places by funding housing and community development.
“We can make Michigan a state full of vibrant communities and we can deliver on the kitchen table issues that matter most to people’s lives,” Whitmer said.
“Over a century ago, Michigan built a reputation as a beacon of opportunity for anyone who was seeking a good job and a path to the middle class. More money in your pocket, a better quality of life and hope for your future,” Whitmer said. “At our best, that is Michigan. We must build on that reputation to help more people, businesses and communities make it in Michigan.”
Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) said the policies, paired with others passed by Michigan’s new Democratic trifecta, set the state apart from others in the country.
“In a moment when other states are legislating people out of their borders, telling people that they are not welcome, Michigan is America’s high five and we are ready to high five you and welcome you in,” McMorrow said.
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