Senate Democrats Unveil Major Investment Plan in Michigan's Education, Economy

LANSING - Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer unveiled the Michigan 2020 Plan today, a proposal that marks a significant investment in Michigan’s future by positioning our state as a leader in higher education and workforce development. Under the plan, Michigan high school graduates would be eligible to have tuition and associated costs paid for at one of Michigan’s community colleges or universities, creating a pact with our K-12 students that invests in their future as well as the future of our state by developing the highest educated workforce in the nation.

“Study after study after study has emphasized the importance of a highly educated workforce in the economic vitality of any state in the 21st Century,” said Whitmer. “The Michigan 2020 Plan represents the single best investment we can make in the future of our state, our families and our economy. Best of all, it can be done without raising taxes one cent.”

Students would be eligible for an annual grant for their higher education costs based upon the length of time they spent in Michigan’s K-12 system. Those who spent their entire K-12 career in Michigan schools would be eligible for the full award, equating to the median tuition level (currently $9,575/year) of all of Michigan’s public universities. Those who attended school outside of Michigan for a period of time during their K-12 years would be eligible for a percentage of that full amount.

The program would be funded entirely by eliminating the ineffective tax loopholes that are carved out by special interest lobbyists, as well as cutting costs within the thousands of contracts that the state currently administers. Michigan currently grants $34 billion in tax credits with little transparency or accountability that ensures they are effective in growing our economy or job market. Under the Michigan 2020 Plan, $3.5 billion in tax credits and loopholes would be eliminated, approximately a 10% reduction.

“Our decisions can no longer be guided by a race to the bottom mentality that only further reduces opportunities for our workers and students to succeed,” added Whitmer. “It’s time for us to be bold and there’s no better place for us to start than by giving each and every child in Michigan the chance to compete in the 21st Century job market. It’s not about whether Michigan can afford to do this, it’s whether we can afford not to.”

Full details of the Michigan 2020 Plan are available online at www.michigan2020.com.