For Immediate Release
Jan. 27, 2021
Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State highlights bipartisan progress over past year, need to keep working together to defeat COVID-19
The League supported Clean Slate, Michigan Reconnect, Futures for Frontliners, echoes call for permanent extension of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits and other worker supports
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2021 State of the State address tonight. It can be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“First and foremost, in order for this health emergency and its economic side effects to subside, we need to curb the spread of COVID-19. We are encouraged by the governor’s Michigan COVID Recovery Plan to work comprehensively and concurrently to reduce the spread of COVID-19 before and after exposure, using federal funding to ramp up much-needed vaccination distribution, expand COVID-19 testing and tracing, and more.
“We also echo the governor’s call for a permanent restoration of 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. The League opposed the shortsighted move to cut six weeks of state unemployment benefits in 2011, and has been advocating for the restoration of those benefits ever since. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need for additional unemployment benefits, but we agree that it should be done permanently, not piecemeal. The challenges for unemployed and underemployed workers preceded COVID-19, and will continue even after the pandemic gets under control, and we need to ensure that an additional six weeks of financial support is always there.
“The governor also doubled down on her commitment to helping all Michigan workers get a better job and build a better life. That includes eliminating hurdles for workers, as the Clean Slate bills did last year, as well as offering stepping stones for workers to reach better opportunities with programs like Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners. These policies and programs are part of a larger effort to not just get more Michiganders working, but to get them good-paying, stable careers and provide more opportunities to Black and Brown workers and workers with lower incomes in the process.”
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.