Putting Money Back In Your Pocket
State of Michigan – December 10, 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, we are not letting up on our work to build a brighter future for Michiganders. We are continuing to build back Michigan’s economy stronger than ever before. We are creating good-paying, high-quality jobs for Michiganders throughout the state, supporting Michigan families by connecting them to resources like high-speed internet, affordable childcare, and utilities, and investing in industries important to the history and future of Michigan.
When I look forward to 2022, I am ready to keep working with Michiganders to lower costs for families, support small businesses, and invest in our communities. We have faced historic challenges together, but I know that we can tackle the tough issues we face and usher in a new era of prosperity for the state we all love.
$400 Refund Checks for Drivers Coming in 2022
On Monday, the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) acted on my call to return surplus funds to Michigan policyholders and will immediately begin the process of refunding $400 per vehicle to Michigan drivers. You should expect to receive a $400 check per insured vehicle in the second quarter of 2022.
The MCCA’s analysis determined that approximately $3 billion of the surplus could be returned to policyholders while ensuring continuity of care for auto accident survivors. The MCCA’s refund plan will return money to every Michigander with an auto insurance policy in force as of 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2021. Eligible consumers do not need to take action in order to receive a refund. The surplus funds will be turned over by the MCCA to the insurance companies operating in Michigan by March 9, 2022, and the insurers will be responsible for issuing checks to eligible policyholders. The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) will direct insurers to issue refund checks to consumers as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 60 days after the transfer of funds.
Connecting Communities to High-Speed Internet
Last week, I issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to collaborate with the Michigan legislature and prepare the state to effectively use the billions of dollars headed our way from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill to continue expanding high-speed internet access.
We are getting ready to deliver critical resources to communities across Michigan by enhancing internet access and getting residents connected. Thanks to billions in funding we are expected to receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we have a historic opportunity to ensure every Michigan home and business has access to an affordable, reliable, high-speed connection that meets their needs and that they know how to use.
When we make investments in high-speed internet, our economy prospers. This directive helps ensure that families and small businesses can rely on their connections to work, learn, and access vital information and services. I look forward to working with the legislature to invest these federal dollars to bolster Michigan’s high-speed internet access and put Michiganders first.
Enroll Today! Preschool Spaces Still Available
Every parent wants the best possible start for their child, and for many families this includes a high-quality preschool experience. Here in Michigan, we are fortunate to have a homegrown program that takes the guesswork out of picking a quality, affordable preschool. The Great Start Readiness Program provides eligible families access to quality, no-cost preschool that works. In July, I was proud to sign a state budget that made the largest education investment in state history and eliminated wait lists and expanded access to GSRP for all eligible children. Thanks to that bipartisan budget, 35,000 Michigan four-year-olds are now enrolled in the program, and we have room for more.
I encourage more families to consider this option for their young Michiganders. Programs are still enrolling, and children can start preschool in January. To be eligible for free preschool, children must be at least four years old by December 1, 2021 and meet income eligibility requirements. Parents can find sites in their community by visiting Michigan.gov/GSRP or calling the Great Start to Quality Resource Center at 877-614-7328.
Keeping the Heat on this Winter
As Michiganders, we know that our winters are long and cold. That’s why it’s so important to ensure Michigan families can stay warm and heat their houses during the winter months. Last week, I announced that nine community service agencies across Michigan received a combined $54.5 million in Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) grants to help families pay for heat and energy as winter approaches.
Thanks to these grants, we can help working families in Michigan from Macomb to Marquette get the help they need with electric bills, heat, natural gas, propane, or any other fuel that helps them stay safe and warm. Last year, over 52,000 households received this assistance and tens of thousands more will get the help they need to stay safe and warm this year too.
If you need help paying the bills this winter, here are some helpful resources:
- Assistance from MEAP can cover full or partial payment of one or more bills for electric, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or any other deliverable fuel used to provide heat.
- Contact your utility company or propane supplier as soon as you know you will be unable to pay your bill on time, and don’t wait for a shutoff notice or put yourself in a situation where you might run out of fuel.
- Call 211 or go to www.mi211.org to learn about agencies that may assist with your energy bill.
- State Emergency Relief may help low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills, assist in keeping utilities in service, or have service restored, assistance that’s available year round. Apply on MI Bridges or call your local MDHHS Office for information. You’ll be required to verify your income, so you may want to work with your utility or 211 first on tips to navigate this process. Households must apply for SER assistance prior to receiving any MEAP services.
Investing in Pure Michigan
Tourism to Michigan parks generates value for surrounding communities, creates jobs, and sustains small businesses. In the last two weeks, I announced more action my administration is taking to support local recreation opportunities and boost our tourism and natural resource economy. First, I announced Recreation Passport grants for 16 communities which will provide funding for important projects. I have also recommended 22 community and state parks, trails, and sports facilities across the state to share over $7 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. That funding will support campground developments, park renovations and improvements, accessible playground development, accessibility improvements and more.
Looking ahead, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies, and bring people to visit Pure Michigan by putting federal dollars to work. That is why this summer, I proposed two investment programs totaling $400 million to address state and local park infrastructure projects. I look forward to working with the legislature to get these dollars out the door and to work for the people of Michigan.
Dollars to Support Local Economies, Attract Millions in Investment, and Create Jobs
I was proud to announce this week, alongside the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), that the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board approved several projects and initiatives that will ensure continued economic opportunity throughout Michigan in the new year. Right now, Michigan has an unprecedented opportunity to invest in families, communities, and small businesses with a $3.5 billion surplus (up from a projected $3 billion deficit), the third-fastest growing economy in the country at 8.3% GDP growth, and billions of dollars in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan.
To share some highlights, we announced:
- Construction of an industrial building in Livonia that will add to Michigan’s inventory of site ready space, eventually support up to 185 jobs, and lead to additional business growth opportunities. (Rendering courtesy of Ashley Capital)
- Two new MEDC community revitalization initiatives that will repurpose vacant, underutilized, blighted or historic buildings and support the creation and expansion of public gathering spaces.
- Support to industry partners that will ensure Michigan’s small- and medium-sized companies can thrive and prepare for the future.
Governor of Michigan