Senate Democrats Reintroduce Michigan 2020 Plan to Invest in Michigan's Education, Economy
Michigan 2020 Plan would provide free college tuition to all Michigan high school graduates
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer along with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus reintroduced the Michigan 2020 Plan today and said that passing it would be their highest legislative priority in 2013. Under the plan, originally introduced last year, Michigan high school graduates would be eligible to have tuition and associated costs paid for in their entirety at one of Michigan’s community colleges or public universities. Since its initial introduction, the Michigan 2020 Plan has received widespread support from a variety of stakeholders, including business leaders, economic experts, educators, parents and students. After receiving a Senate hearing on the legislation last year, people from around the state are eager to see the bill passed this year.
“While Governor Snyder continues to wholeheartedly ignore the issues that Michiganders are concerned about, my caucus has once again brought the very best education plan to the table to drive Michigan into the 21st Century,” said Senator Whitmer. “The Michigan 2020 Plan is the best investment that can be made in Michigan’s economy and it does so without raising taxes one cent on our hardworking families. It’s time to end the political excuses for not giving this plan a vote and instead send a message that Michigan can and will create the most well-educated workforce found anywhere in the world.”
Under the Michigan 2020 Plan, high school graduates in Michigan, whether they attended a public or private school or were home schooled, would be eligible for an annual grant for their higher education costs. The maximum amount of the grant would be equal to the median tuition level (currently $10,617/year) of all of Michigan’s public universities. Students could choose to attend any of Michigan’s community colleges or public universities and use that money toward the cost of tuition, books and other eligible expenses.
“Business Leaders for Michigan has called on this administration to make higher education funding a priority because they understand that if we are to compete in the global economy, we must invest in our greatest resource – our young people,” said Senator Rebekah Warren. “It is absolutely essential that we enact this legislation to make a college degree a tangible possibility for so many who would never pursue one otherwise.”
The Michigan 2020 Plan would be funded entirely by eliminating the ineffective tax loopholes that are carved out by special interest lobbyists. Michigan currently grants nearly $35 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, an independent, nonpartisan commission would be tasked with eliminating 10% of the tax expenditures that no longer serve a purpose in creating jobs or growing the economy, which would be more than enough to cover the plan’s approximate $1.8 billion annual cost on an ongoing basis.
The four bills in the package of legislation (Senate Bills 223-225, and Senate Joint Resolution M) were sponsored by Senators Rebekah Warren, Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Morris Hood III and Vincent Gregory, and were cosponsored by members of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The bills would establish the Michigan 2020 grant program, require that all tax credits sunset every four years, require the state fiscal agencies to grade all tax credits based on the number of jobs they create, and assign an independent nonpartisan commission to review all $35 billion worth of tax credits and recommend those that should be eliminated.
Full details of the Michigan 2020 Plan are available online at www.michigan2020.com.