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Michigan NewsGOP Rep: Michiganders will have to pay higher taxes if Gov. Whitmer...

GOP Rep: Michiganders will have to pay higher taxes if Gov. Whitmer wants to achieve her education and housing plans

Michigan – While Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to claim that Michigan is headed in the right direction, recent report by two experts found that Michiganders are getting poorer and the gap with the U.S. average could get wider if not proper measures are taken as soon as now. Meanwhile, State Rep. Jaime Greene criticized Gov. Whitmer and asked her to shift focus and concentrate on cost of living, improving basic education, and repairing local roads in Michigan. And Gov. Whitmer responded almost immediately.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces free community college for all high school graduates

During her 2024 Michigan State of the State annual address, Governor Gretchen Whitmer talked about her big plans for the year. A key idea is making community college free for every high school graduate in Michigan. She mentioned that the state already made college more affordable with a scholarship and talked about the Michigan Reconnect program, which offers free tuition for some people.

Now Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is taking it a step further.

Read also: Be prepared: Thousands to get more money from the state as changes come to Michigan’s income tax returns this year

“We made community college and job training for medical techs and electricians tuition-free for anyone 21 and older through Michigan Reconnect, and today I propose to go further,” she said. “In our next budget, let’s make the first two years of community college in Michigan tuition-free for every high school graduate.”

This plan, according to Governor Whitmer, could save students $4,000. Jason Wilson, who works at Mott Community College, thinks this is a great step.

“We are definitely the benefits of this. We certainly as a community college also are a pathway to four-year institutions as well so they benefit from this and those individuals who earn credentials and degrees are now considered to be upscaled talent,” says Wilson.

Wilson pointed out that the pandemic really hurt education in Michigan, despite efforts to fix things. He noted that fewer students have been enrolling in college since the pandemic, and this hasn’t improved to the levels Michigan education leaders want.

“We have rebounded well. We’re currently up approximately 6% and our enrollment and the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, Michigan reconnect which targets adult learners and bringing them back to school helps our enrollment and it’s all again part of that same ecosystem,” says Wilson.

Read also: Michigan Democrat files bill that would impact all high school students and their parents in the future

Free community college policy in Michigan is not supported by everyone

But not everyone is on board with this proposed free community college for all high school graduates.

“Capitalizing on already existing programs would be a far wiser use of tax dollars than creating a new program which despite putting the word free and will not be free for Michigan taxpayers,” says Beth DeShone, the Great Lakes Education Project.

She says she believes the state could focus on other important areas.

“I’ve long been a believer that investing, you know, dollars directly to our students, whether it’s direct in the K 12 system. So things like tutoring, or efforts to help in our lower grades with literacy support, making sure that we’re putting them on a strong foundation, whether it’s scholarships to send them to the school that’s going to best fit their needs,” says DeShone.

Whitmer also outlined plans to invest more than a billion dollars to increase and renovate housing across the state. This plan raises concerns as it’s an expensive one and state leaders would probably run into problems due to funding.

Critics from Michigan Republicans

While the majority found Gov. Whitmer’s plans great, some think that those plans are unrealistic and the funding would come directly for tax payers.

“I don’t think you could do any of those proposals without raising a tax and that was not discussed,” said state Rep. Andrew Beeler. “What’s frustrated me is that we’ve identified issues. For goodness sake, she started her own population council to identify issues and figure out why the state isn’t growing. What is her answers to those?”

Michigan Gov. Whitmer announced free community college for everyone and fixing the expensive housing, draws criticism from Republicans

Read also: Michigan man accused of drug conspiracy and pandemic unemployment insurance fraud of $2.1 million gets 15 years

“Hold onto your wallet, and free is not free,” said state Rep. Donni Steel in reaction Wednesday night to the plans Whitmer outlined in her 40-minute speech.