For Immediate Release
January 29, 2020
Many policy issues in Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State align with League’s policy agenda
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 State of the State address. It can be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“We appreciate the governor considering the needs of real Michigan families and what they need to make ends meet. Too many people in our state are working but not making enough to survive, let alone thrive, and the real-world struggles and kitchen-table budgeting of Michiganders are too often overlooked in state policy decisions. The governor has done a lot to change that in her first year, and her priorities tonight show that that will continue to be a goal.”
“The health of moms and babies is an important indicator of a state’s overall well-being, and quite frankly, Michigan is not doing well. The state’s infant mortality rate—we rank 38th in the nation—is deeply troubling, especially for babies of color. And 44 percent of maternal deaths are preventable. There’s no reason that in 2020 our babies and mothers should still be at such high risk, and we applaud the governor’s work to address this issue and we hope the Legislature will share her concerns for moms and babies and make maternal health funding a priority.”
“As we talk with communities around the state, we hear over and over again about the sticker shock of today’s child care costs. The expense of child care is debilitating for many families, and in a lot of cases is more than parents can earn. Child care is a key policy solution in a two-generation approach that helps parents and kids. In addition, as we look at investing in education and properly preparing our kids for success, that work begins well before preschool, and it’s time for child care to rightfully be considered just as important to a child’s education and development.”
“While Michigan’s unemployment rate has gone down dramatically, our poverty rate has not seen much of a drop, meaning more people are working, but for lower wages. A lot of this can be tied to the changes in our economy and the increased need for some type of higher education degree or skilled trade certificate. It’s a Catch-22. Michigan’s older workers need to go back to school to better prepare for the new job market and earn more money, but the cost continues to be a huge barrier. Gov. Whitmer’s bold goal of 60 percent of residents getting some type of higher education certificate by 2030, and Michigan Reconnect and MI Opportunity are great ways to get us there. These proposals did not translate into legislative action last year, but our research shows that this effort is needed all over, especially in rural and Northern Michigan, and we hope legislators from all over the state recognize this growing problem and work with the governor to address it.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.