In her sixth State of the State speech, Governor Gretchen Whitmer reflected on the policy achievements of 2023, largely accomplished through collaboration with the first fully Democrat controlled Legislature in last 40 years. The Governor also laid out a her 2024 agenda, which is focused on expanding the state’s incentive programs for economic development and increasing spending on the preschool program and postsecondary tuition assistance. While the political context of 2024 was mentioned, the governor’s proposals centered on reducing costs for residents, including targeted tax breaks and state coverage for community college and preschool.
Whitmer outlined significant laws signed in 2023, covering energy, abortion access, LGBTQ civil rights protections, healthcare, education, and tax policies. The limited policy proposals for 2024 seemed to acknowledge the challenging political landscape, with a tied House and limited session days until late June. Notable budgetary asks included expediting state-funded preschool and covering two years of community college tuition for Michigan high school graduates.
The Governor’s proposals included new tax credits for family caregiving, vehicle purchases, and research and development. She also sought to revive the expired Good Jobs for Michigan program, proposing to rename it HIRE Michigan. However, challenges may arise in the Legislature, where some Republicans resist government intrusion, and some Democrats oppose perceived corporate welfare.
Notably, Whitmer did not mention the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB), which had been a centerpiece of her August 2023 “What’s Next” speech. The bills moved quickly in the Senate but have largely stalled out in the House, where, with the previously-mentioned tied Chamber, few political observers expect to see much work until April, at best.
Governor Whitmer concluded her speech emphasizing the need to upgrade the state’s economic development toolkit to attract and retain businesses. Overall, her 2024 agenda focused on economic growth, education, and cost reduction, with an awareness of the political dynamics shaping the legislative landscape.