In This Issue:
- Joint Letter to Gov. Whitmer from Chamber, Mayor Schor & Downtown Lansing, Inc.
- Michigan’s Child Care Coalition
- Letter to the Michigan Department of Education
- Lansing Regional Chamber Joins Coalition for the Great Start Readiness Program
- Lt. Governor Gilchrist Meets with Chamber Members
Joint Letter to Governor Whitmer from Lansing Regional Chamber, Mayor Schor & Downtown Lansing, Inc.
Being the capital city, the state government is one of the largest employers, and with state employees working remotely, the financial impact on downtown Lansing has been significant. In downtown Lansing, it is estimated that 15% of businesses closed over the last year due to the lack of business. It is projected that downtown could lose up to 25% of our dining, retail, or entertainment-based businesses due to dramatically reduced business sales.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Mayor Schor and Downtown Lansing, Inc. sent a letter to Governor Whitmer to request pulling together a public, private workgroup with downtown businesses and the administration to ensure downtown Lansing’s continued vibrancy.
Michigan’s Child Care Coalition
The Lansing Regional Chamber is part of Michigan’s Child Care Coalition, which the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce leads. The Coalition’s strategy supports early childhood outcomes and helps Michiganders overcome obstacles to participate in the workforce.
In Governor Whitmer’s FY 2022 budget recommendations, her administration has included $370 million to temporarily increase the income eligibility threshold from 150% to 200% and temporarily waive out-of-pocket copays through the fiscal year 2022. Additionally, there is a 10 percent increase in hourly rates for our childcare providers. The Governor’s recommendation also includes $2.2 million for the tri-share pilot program, an innovative pilot to lead regional program management of the Michigan Tri-Share Child Care Program. Review the RFP and apply to be a pilot region.
Letter to the Michigan Department of Education
The Lansing Regional Chamber sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Education and eight other organizations to oppose the waiver requesting to cancel this year’s MSTEP assessment. As our state and nation seek to create a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we support the continued use of data to inform our educational efforts, particularly for our most vulnerable students.
Data-driven information on where our students are is critical to deciding how resources and interventions need to be implemented. Instead of moving away from testing, we should lean into the opportunity to gather a clear and accurate picture of the gaps that exist to rally around a pathway that allows all students to recover and grow.
Chamber Joins Coalition for the Great Start Readiness Program
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce joined the Coalition for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). This aligns under the talent and workforce development policy priority, specifically as it pertains to education.
- Purpose: The purpose of the Coalition is to increase the full-day GSRP offering to match the minimum foundation grant provided to K-12 school districts. The total cost is estimated at $35.5 million.
- Rationale: Absent increased per-child funding, the viability of GSRP and adherence to the research-based requirements is in jeopardy. Several years ago, a coalition came together to increase the number of children served through the GSRP. However, since that time, there has been little done to sustain programming through increased student investments. The School Finance Research Collaborative study called for funding at $14,155 per child for a high-quality program.
Lt. Governor Gilchrist Meets with Lansing Regional Chamber Members
Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist III met with Lansing Regional Chamber members this week to discuss the administration’s COVID-19 recovery plan and budget recommendations made by the Governor.
Some of the questions that were asked during the roundtable, include:
- For our region, the state government is one of the largest employers. What are the plans for a return to work for state employees?
- City of Lansing unfunded liabilities of $900 million. You are from Detroit and understand the impact the Detroit Bankruptcy had on our state, residents, and businesses in the city. What is the Whitmer Administration’s plan to address these growing municipal finance issues? (also factor in COVIC, Income Tax……perfect storm to severely impact the financial stability of the state’s capital city)
- Can you talk about the reason why the Governor vetoed the tax deferment legislation last session for those businesses that have been closed since March 13 and still are (such as banquet halls)? Our business has not received one grant and has had our doors closed from the beginning of this, and now my business is looking at a large tax bill due this week that I cannot afford to pay.
Links provided during the Roundtable:
In the News
- LSJ OP-ED: Greater Lansing must work together as a region to help businesses recover from COVID-19
- Bridge Michigan: Opinion | School leaders to Whitmer: invest in early childhood education now
- WLNS: Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce announces campaign to hihlight small businesses
- MI Business Network: Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Announces Support for Michigan Reconnect