Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presented her $79.4 billion fiscal year 2024 budget recommendations on Feb. 8, which contained a host of bipartisan interests and represented many of the MICHauto’s policy priorities.
In a press release issued by the Governor’s office, MICHauto Executive Director and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber, Glenn Stevens Jr., shared, “Gov. Whitmer continues to be committed to retaining and growing our automotive industry and ensuring Michigan leads in the mobility transformation. From the EV supply chain to the infrastructure that is required, Michigan must demonstrate our leadership role. The administration is focused on actions to ensure Michigan has the required talent, policies, and infrastructure in place for the electrification of our industry. The initiatives and funding proposed in the budget are another enabling step forward to make that happen.”
Michigan needs to continue investing in education and talent at all levels, prioritize infrastructure improvements and innovation, and ensure Michigan stays competitive in attracting and retaining businesses as a place where the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs wants to grow. The items below will help make strides toward these objectives, especially as it relates to the automotive and mobility industry.
Growing Michigan’s Vibrant Mobility Ecosystem
Sustainable SOAR Funding: Michigan needs a long-term, sustainable funding source for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund (SOAR). Including SOAR funding in this proposed budget will enable the state to be and reinforce its position as a place all companies need to consider when looking to expand, grow, onshore, or relocate.
Expanding EV Charging Stations: To continue growing its electric vehicle (EV) market and retain its global leadership in the automotive and mobility space, Michigan needs to enhance charging infrastructure, particularly by increasing the number and accessibility of charging stations across the state. These budget recommendations invest $65 million toward this need.
Incentivizing EV Adoption: Removing the state’s 6% sales tax from the first $40,000 of the purchase price of an EV will provide consumers with savings of up to $2,400. When combined with a $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit, purchasers of EVs would be eligible for close to $10,000 in savings.
Fleet Electrification: The recommendations also include budgeting $10 million for the state to begin electrifying its vehicle fleet and providing $35 million for local governments to purchase EVs. The Governor, who has set a goal for Michigan’s economy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, said she expects that electrifying government fleets would not only cut carbon emissions but result in government savings on fuel and maintenance costs.
Enhancing Education and Workforce Opportunity
Expanding Michigan Reconnect: Lowering the age of participants from 25 years old to 21 years old gets more people back into the classroom and working towards the degrees needed to make Michigan a high-tech destination, leader in electrification, and source of ever-essential health care professionals.
Increasing Investment in Going PRO: This program has shown time and time again the importance and benefit of employer-specific job training. Increasing funding for Going PRO by $35 million allows even more companies to qualify as participants and more Michigan residents to get much-needed training to thrive in a career.
Additional Higher-Education Funding: The proposed budget increases funding for colleges, universities, and community colleges and makes higher education more affordable and accessible by contributing additional support to the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.