Is there bipartisan support for Governor Whitmer's State of the State proposals?

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 17:55:36-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — We will learn more of the details in the proposals Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced during her State of the State speech Tuesday night in two weeks. That is when she will be introducing her budget.

In the meantime, the governor is working to raise support for some of her ideas.

Governor Whitmer spoke to local leaders at FOCUS: Hope in Detroit about how she believes the plan she shared during her state of the state speech will bring prosperity.

This General Motors investment announced this week is the biggest investment GM has made in its history. $7 billion,” said the governor.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proposed that to support the investment the state should create a $2500 rebate for electric vehicle purchases. She says this will help drive sales locally as the industry transitions to clean energy.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is one of the local leaders who joined the governor at FOCUS: Hope. She says more electric vehicles mean cleaner air.

“Look Wayne County hasn’t met Clean Air Act standards since 2013 or so. We are out of compliance with federal standards for clean are. I know this is part of us being the solution,” said the congresswoman.

State Senator Jim Runestad reacted to the governor's messaging, saying he is not opposed to such rebates, but he is concerned about energy costs as more use electricity.

“I was disappointed she didn’t talk about our energy costs, some of the highest in the midwest,” said State Senator Jim Runestad.

State Senator Runestad, a Republican from Oakland County, says energy costs contributed to Ford’s recent decision to make a large plant investment outside of Michigan.

The governor also spoke about her plan to cut taxes on retiree pension income.

“The tax cuts, we have already run those through some Senate hearings, so I think those will go forward,” said State Senator Doug Wozniak, (R-Macomb County).

State Senator Wozniak says he feels some of the governor’s ideas echo ideas from republicans.

State Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe) introduced House Bill 4002 in January of last year, one bill that would cut taxes on pensions. It is unclear if the governor’s proposal matches that proposal.

“The difference is the governor is looking for a more targeted relief for seniors and we are looking for across the board,” said State Senator Jim Runestad.

Runestad says some lawmakers want to see cuts in taxes for all retirees, with less focus specifically on pensions alone.

The governor says she is not “stealing” ideas from republicans, as some have suggested, but that they have common ground.

“Well, I introduced the repeal in 2019. The legislature didn’t embrace it,” said Governor Whitmer.

“My predecessor gave a big business tax cut and paid for it by cutting the earned income tax credit and taxing retirees. I fought it at the time,” said the governor.