Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Warren on Jan. 27 where she echoed her State of the State message before an audience that included retired carpenters, millwrights, firefighters and teachers.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Warren on Jan. 27 where she echoed her State of the State message before an audience that included retired carpenters, millwrights, firefighters and teachers.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Whitmer brings State of the State message to Warren

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published February 20, 2023


WARREN — On the heels of her 2023 State of the State address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke to an audience that included retired carpenters, millwrights, firefighters and teachers in Warren on Jan. 27.

Among the topics she discussed at the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Banquet Center were efforts to repeal the state tax on pensions and plans to put more money in the pockets of Michiganders.

“Twelve years ago Gov. (Richard) Snyder decided that he would pay for extensive business tax cuts on the backs of ours and I do mean all of our retired members,” said Tom Lutz, executive secretary treasurer for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.  “When he did that he changed the rules midgame, taking a bite out of the modest fixed incomes that retired middle class people rely on to make ends meet.”

Dick Reynolds, a retired carpenter, is among those retirees looking forward to the repeal of taxes on their pensions.

“It will help me and my wife plan accordingly because it was a tax that was never put into the equation,” Reynolds said.

Whitmer said her plan would ease the burden felt by some Michiganders dealing with inflation, and make Michigan a more desirable place for all people.

According to the governor, repealing the tax on retirement pensions would result in $1,000 more a year on average for retirees. An estimated 500,000 people would benefit from the repeal.

“It will help immensely,” said Reynolds.   

Working families are also included in her plans.

“The working families tax credit will put on average $3,000 more in 700,000 households,” said Whitmer. “This will give families some relief, to put food on the table, gas in the car, or give their kids the support they need.”

In addition to retirees and families, the governor’s speech included provisions to benefit some of the youngest Michiganders. Her “pre-K for all” plan proposes universal preschool for all 4-year-olds across the state.

“We know an early start is really important for lifelong health and lifelong wealth,” said Whitmer.  “It saves families on average $10,000 on the cost of child care.”

The governor proposed a “Make it in Michigan” initiative to grow the economy, attract talent and keep people in Michigan because they can be successful here.

According to Whitmer, Democrat and Republican leadership came together a little more than a year ago and sharpened their economic development skills. Now, they’re seeing results through General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., battery plants and clean energy jobs.

“This will empower us to move faster and bring supply chains home,” said Whitmer.

Because of the correlation between proper education, training and good jobs, Whitmer proposed broadening eligibility for tuition-free skills training by lowering the age of the Michigan Reconnect program from 25 to 21.

According to Whitmer, she will also codify civil rights so people are respected and protected under the law.  This will include expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act for the LGBTQ community, in addition to eliminating any laws on the books that prevent a woman from making decisions’ regarding her own body.

“In the months ahead, we will be turning out a lot of legislation,” said Whitmer.

Michigan House Republican Leader Matt Hall, of Richland Township, said in a statement after Whitmer’s State of the State remarks that the governor “delivered nothing more than a stump speech, light on details and void of new ideas to deliver on the priorities of the people of Michigan.”

Through his office after Whitmer’s remarks in Warren, Hall added, “House Republicans laid out a simple plan to provide immediate relief for working families, and fair relief for senior citizens — a stark contrast to Democrats’ original proposal that would take years to get many people relief. The governor seems to be moving our way, but we also need to protect the permanent, ongoing relief that’s teed up for Michiganders and small businesses.”