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Gov. Whitmer announces federal funding priorities to transform state by promoting job growth and supporting small business

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today her funding priorities as the state readies for more than $18 billion in federal funding available through the American Rescue Plan Act. State government is expected to receive $5.7 billion in additional federal funding, in addition to $4.4 billion directed to local governments and $3.9 billion to K-12 schools. Many Michiganders have already received stimulus checks from the federal government through the Act.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest billions in Michigan’s families, communities, schools, and small businesses,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The American Rescue Plan will help us build back better, preparing our state for the future while creating thousands of jobs and uplifting working families. I look forward to working with the legislature to put these dollars to work in a strategic way that builds on our shared priorities. Let’s get it done.”

“Michiganders expect and deserve state leaders to work together to ensure the spending of the federal funds is done in a way that transforms Michigan into a better place and helps our residents and businesses,” said State Budget Director David Massaron. “Michigan will be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states if we do not get this right. This type of funding opportunity is rare, and these dollars must be invested wisely to contribute to sustainable and shared prosperity.”

Several key priority areas for investment that have sustainable and long-term benefits include job creation, infrastructure, access to health care, and children and their education, which could involve:

— Grant programs for small businesses to keep our main streets vibrant and our communities resilient, support for Michigan’s community development financial institutions (CDFI) to compliment the traditional lenders supporting businesses through Paycheck Protection Program loans, and creation of a small business accelerator to provide startup capital and support for entrepreneurs.

— Business attraction efforts to invest in future technologies, mobility, and advanced vehicle technology research & development is also important. Investing in workforce opportunity and talent retention will also help transform the state.

— Addressing the long-term neglect of our infrastructure to help provide all Michiganders access to clean drinking water, broadband, public green space, climate resilient dams and local infrastructure, and a clean environment.

— Using lessons learned this past year to fuel investment in improved public health capacity, expanded access to behavioral health supports, additional services to the aging and expanded options to age in place, and redesigned and integrated access to state benefits.

— Making long-term investments in our children and the next generation, including expanding access to preschool and childcare, addressing pandemic learning loss, creating out of school learning opportunities, providing wraparound supports for mental health and social-emotional wellbeing, creating safe learning environments, and providing incentives to improve teacher recruitment and retention efforts.

In a letter sent to the Governor and legislative leaders, the business community has encouraged a thoughtful approach in the allocation of federal funding that produces long-term strategic investments. Groups signing the letter included Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Chamber, the Lansing Regional Chamber, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan. Support has also been provided by the Council of Michigan Foundations.

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