Report: Tax Cuts Dropped as Whitmer, GOP Disagree

Tax cuts are no longer on the negotiating table as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the GOP-dominated Michigan Legislature square off before a deadline to submit a budget.

Crain’s first reported the story, citing two anonymous sources familiar with negotiations, and said lawmakers hope to pass a budget on Thursday.

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Vulnerable House Democrat Elissa Slotkin Trailing GOP Challenger, Poll Finds

Vulnerable House Democrat Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), who is now running in the state’s newly-drawn 7th Congressional District, may be in political jeopardy, according to a new poll.

The survey, commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), demonstrated that Republican Tom Barrett holds a 2-point lead over Slotkin.

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Asian Carp Renamed ‘Copi’, Taxpayers Foot $600,000 Rebrand

Federal taxpayers spent $600,000 to rebrand the Asian carp, hoping that people will eat their way out of the potential – and some experts say inevitable – Asian Carp invasion into the Great Lakes. 

The federal Great Lakes Restoration fund paid for the five-year plan to rename Asian carp “Copi.”

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Michigan Attorney General Nessel Pledges to Defend Abortion Access

Attorney General Dana Nessel told Michiganders to “rise up” and gather enough signatures to enshrine abortion rights into the state Constitution via a ballot proposal on November 8.

Nessel was reacting to the United States Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, allowing states to criminalize abortion.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer Pledges to ‘Fight like Hell’ for Abortions in Michigan

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer pledged to “fight like hell” to maintain access to abortions for women in Michigan, according to a release from her office.

The statement follows a decision from the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right for abortions.

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Michigan to Get $14.5 Million for Pharmaceutical Settlement

Michigan will receive $14.45 million from a federal pharmaceutical fraud settlement.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 49 other states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the federal government to settle a lawsuit for $233.7 million, plus interest, to be paid over seven years by Mallinckrodt ARD, LLC.

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Detroit City Council Again Delays Vote on $60 Million Tax Break

The Detroit City Council postponed for a second time a vote on whether to give billionaire Dan Gilbert a $60 million tax break over 10 years after heavy resident pushback.

Gilbert, who Forbes says is worth $15.6 billion, says he needs taxpayers to fund a 10-year tax break to renovate real estate firm Bedrock’s Hudson building, which they claim will support 2,000 permanent jobs once finished.

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Experts Say New SCOTUS Ruling May Reverberate in Michigan Education System

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Carson v. Makin ruling, announced Tuesday, may crack the door open more widely for Michigan families seeking tuition assistance for their children who attend private schools.

SCOTUS voted 6-3 in favor of allowing state-provided tuition assistance for Maine parents who send their children to private religious schools. Michigan is another state with a so-called Blaine Amendment, which prohibits the use of public funds for all private schools, whether they’re religious or secular.

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Governor Whitmer’s Lost Case Sends $200,000 in Attorneys Fees to Policy Center’s Litigation Effort

Michigan’s governor, attorney general, and Department of Health and Human Services are on the hook for $200,000 in attorneys fees incurred from a lawsuit resolved by the state’s Supreme Court.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy will collect the $200,000 after the state Supreme Court ruled against the government principals on Oct. 2, 2020, declaring Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s exercise of emergency powers under a 1945 law unconstitutional. The court’s ruling nullified every COVID-19 executive order issued by the governor after April 30, 2020.

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Whitmer Signs Bill to Require High Schoolers Take Personal Finance Class

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bipartisan bill requiring Michigan high schoolers to take a financial literacy class before graduating.

“As a mom, I want every kid who graduates in Michigan to enter the world with a diverse set of skills and knowledge, and that must include financial literacy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill requiring all public school students to take a personal finance course. Every young Michigander deserves to know how to budget, save, and invest their money wisely so they can get off a great start after high school, whether they go to college, start working, or open a small business.”

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State Board of Education Issues Resolution Against ‘Let MI Kids Learn’ Ballot Initiative

A proposed ballot initiative to allow tax credits for families seeking to send their children to private schools in Michigan sparked a rebuke in the form of a resolution by the State Board of Education.

Proponents are currently attempting to collect 340,047 signatures to place the Let MI Kids Learn program on the November ballot.

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Michigan Senate Approves $565 Million for Mental Health

The Michigan Senate approved a $565 million bill, which appropriates mostly federal funding to improve the state’s mental health system.

Senate Bill 714 aims to fund jail diversion, create treatment units to reduce emergency room overcrowding, and bolster substance abuse programs.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer OKs 17-Year-Olds Serving Alcohol, Swim-Up Bars

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed nine bills, including specific pieces of legislation that allow 17-year-olds serve alcohol under certain conditions, increase carnival safety requirements, and legalize swim-up bars.

“While these bills continue our record of bipartisan collaboration, Michiganders are counting on us to continue growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering cost for working families who are facing rising prices at the grocery store and the gas pump,” Whitmer said in a statement.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Advocates for ‘A Drag Queen for Every School’

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel advocated for “a drag queen for every school” while speaking at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights 2022 Civil Rights Summit, according to multiple sources.

Two different reporters, Craig Mauger for the Detroit News and Barbara Bellinger for Michigan Information and Research Service, noted the comments by one of the state’s top officials.

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Michigan Paying Two Private Companies $298,000 for Business Expansion

The state of Michigan will spend nearly $300,000 subsidizing two private companies in Cadillac and Fenton, claiming the subsidies will create a $7.3 million investment and create 68 jobs.

“Today’s investments by American Recreational Products and Rexair will create a combined 68 good-paying jobs for Michiganders as we continue growing Michigan’s economy and investing in every region of the state,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. 

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Lenawee County’s Proposed $80 Million Project Phoenix Fizzles

Plans for Project Phoenix, a proposed $80 million, 50-acre sports complex in Lenawee County fueled by COVID money, have fizzled.

“Project Phoenix was shelved because the chances of funding assistance from the State of Michigan did not appear to be forthcoming,” Lenawee County Administrator Kimberly Murphy told The Center Square in a Monday email.

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University of Michigan Creates Abortion Task Force in Wake of Potential End to Roe v. Wade

The University of Michigan has created an abortion task force following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade may be overturned.

The move was announced in the university’s faculty newspaper, The University Record.

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Whitmer Vetoes Bipartisan Michigan Tax-Cut Bills

Michigan’s personal income tax will remain 4.25% for the foreseeable future after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have lowered it to 4.0%.

House Bill 4568 and Senate Bill 784 were vetoed or, in the case of SB784, vetoed in effect on Friday. The bills were tie-barred, which means neither bill could pass without acceptance of the other bill under consideration.

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Commentary: Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain Fights for Taxpayers – and Common Sense

Congress has united in condemnation of Russia and in support of Ukraine. Now, a group of federal lawmakers led by Michigan Congressmember Lisa McClain (R-MI) is working to ensure that no more American tax dollars are sent to Vladimir Putin’s cruel and wasteful animal laboratories. 

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16 Michigan Schools Get $205,028 for STEM

Sixteen Michigan schools have been awarded $205,028 to develop Great Lakes-based science, technology, engineering, and math – STEM – programs.

“These grants will support freshwater literacy programs and offer students access to real world STEM experiences,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Our Great Lakes are our greatest asset, and we must empower young Michiganders to learn more about them and continue advancing conservation efforts. Michigan’s economic competitiveness depends on a workforce proficient in STEM and committed to solving our biggest challenges. Investments like these will help prepare our kids to lead our state into the future.”

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Right-to-Work Legal Group Seeks Federal Probe of Healthcare Michigan

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on Monday asked several national bureaus to investigate alleged financial improprieties by Healthcare Michigan, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

NRWLDF President Mark Mix formally requested the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. attorney of Michigan, and the U.S. Office of Labor-Management Practices to investigate Healthcare Michigan with regard to “serious allegations of financial wrongdoing.” The Foundation is providing legal assistance to Sinai-Grace workers seeking a decertification vote to remove HCMI representation from the Detroit hospital.

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1.7 Million Hunters and Fishers Give $66 Million to Michigan Wildlife Conservation

About 1.7 million people contributed $66 million to wildlife and natural resource management last year by buying 2021 fishing and hunting licenses.

Those proceeds funded The Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund – the Department of Natural Resource’s largest revenue source. Hunting and fishing equipment sales raised $32 million to support wildlife and natural resource management.

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City of Dearborn Facing $22 Million Deficit

The city of Dearborn plans to restructure health care benefits and cut spending as it faces a $22 million deficit equivalent to firing 349 full-time employees.

The Metro Detroit city cited rising costs for the deficit, including $3.2 million in wage and benefit increases, $2.7 million for deferred fleet maintenance, and $1.2 million for increased fuel and other supplies.

However, budget details note the city has consistently spent more than it collected in revenue.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud told residents at a public meeting last week: “You are not going to lose benefits,” Fox2 reported. “At no point in time will the rug ever be pulled away from them, we never want to do that.”

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Think Tank: Detroit’s ARPA Spending Unsustainable

Detroit skyline at night

Nine years after declaring bankruptcy, the city of Detroit received more than $826.7 million in one-time federal stimulus money but still projects a deficit in fiscal year 2027.

A Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan (CRCM) report says the city’s plan to spend one-time dollars on recurring programs is unsustainable.

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Michigan Railroads Get $30 Million Federal Grant

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $368 million in rail infrastructure grants to 46 projects in 32 states, including about $30 million for two Michigan rail projects.

“Americans deserve a world-class rail system that allows people and goods to get where they need to go more quickly and affordably, while reducing traffic and pollution on our roads,” Buttigieg said at the Mackinac Policy Conference. “We’re proud to award these grants to improve passenger rail for riders and strengthen the freight rail that makes our supply chains and our economy work.”

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Ford to Invest $2 Billion, Create 3,200 Jobs in Michigan

Ford Motor Company says it will spend $3.7 billion across three Midwestern states to create more than 6,200 new union jobs. 

The United Auto Workers and Ford say they will convert nearly 3,000 temporary UAW-Ford workers to permanent full-time status and provide all hourly employees healthcare benefits on the first day at work.

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Michigan Candidate Loses Appeal to Appear on August Gubernatorial Primary Ballot

Perry Johnson’s name will not appear on the Michigan gubernatorial primary ballot on Aug. 2.

The state Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied the Republican quality guru’s request for a writ of mandamus, upholding the Board of State Canvassers conclusion, “Mr. Johnson did not meet the threshold for certification to the ballot based on the staff’s initial review,” according to the court’s published decision.

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Poll: 69 Percent of Michiganders Say Nation Is on the Wrong Track

A new statewide poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber found that Michiganders’ top issues are inflation and fixing roads.

The poll was announced as the Chamber’s 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference started. The poll found that by a margin of 19.1%-72.8%, voters in every demographic said the economy is on the wrong track.

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Report: Michigan Might Spend $135 Million on Ford Subsidy

The state of Michigan could invest up to $135 million in new auto and electric vehicle (EV) plants for Ford Motor Company.

The news follows Stellantis NV choosing Kokomo, Ind., as the site for a $2.5 billion EV battery manufacturing plant that could employ 1,400 people, passing over locations around the Motor City.

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Poll: Fixing Michigan Roads Is Top Voter Issue

An EPIC-MRA poll shows that 93% of likely Michigan voters rated state roads as a “total negative,” with 65% rating them “poor.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ran and won her campaign in 2018 by promising to “fix the damn roads.” In the poll conducted between May 11-17 of 600 likely November voters, the results showed every demographic cited road repair as a priority.

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Gov. Whitmer Launches State Parks Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the installation of two of the 30 eventual electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at state parks. She made the announcement at Holland State Park.

“This partnership to install charging stations in our state parks speaks to the collaborative approach we are taking to grow our economy and address climate change head-on through clean, reliable energy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These charging stations along the Lake Michigan EV Circuit build on our rich Pure Michigan tradition of exploration and bringing together communities and businesses to ensure that we honor our past as the place that put the world on wheels and continue to invest in our workforce as we lead the transition to electric vehicles.”

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Michigan Senators Take Steps Toward Gas-Tax Vacation

As residents of the Great Lakes State and out-of-state tourists prepare to inaugurate the 2022 outdoor vacation season, they’re being stymied by gasoline prices rising steadily toward the $5 per gallon range.

The Michigan Senate has passed a slate of bills designed to alleviate drivers’ pain at the pump. If signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the bills would save Michigan drivers between 40 cents to 50 cents a gallon by temporarily eliminating the state’s 6% sales tax and 27-cent-per-gallon excise tax.

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Abbott to Restart Michigan Baby Formula Production on June 4

Abbott Nutrition said it plans to restart its baby formula plant in Sturgis on June 4 after a plethora of problems left shelves bare nationwide.

The plant shutdown was compounded by supply chain issues, product recalls, and record 40-year high inflation. As of the week ending May 8, the company Datasembly reported the national out-of-stock rate for baby formula hit 43%.

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Michigan Board of Canvassers Deadlocks, Blocking 5 GOP Gov Candidates from Ballot

The Michigan Board of Canvassers deadlocked on a 2-2 vote, blocking five GOP candidates from the Aug. 2, 2022 ballot, unless a court intervenes on their behalf.

The four-person bipartisan panel met to discuss the Bureau of Elections report that recommended disqualifying five candidates who apparently didn’t meet the 15,000 valid signature threshold because of 30 petitioners who allegedly submitted 68,000 fraudulent signatures.

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Whitmer Issues Abortion-Related Directive to Michigan Agencies, Departments

An executive directive issued by Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer aims to eliminate any state department and agency barriers to contraception and abortion.  

The directive instructs all “State of Michigan departments and agencies to review aspects of reproductive health care that fall within their jurisdiction and identify and assess potential opportunities to increase protections for reproductive health care, such as contraception, long-acting reversible contraception, and emergency contraception,” according to a release issued Wednesday morning by the governor’s office. 

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Governor Announces Another $9.1 Million Round of Grants for Michigan Businesses

Approximately $9.1 million in taxpayer-funded grants for business projects in Michigan expected to create 420 jobs are in three business expansions and a new semiconductor apprenticeship program.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the economic development, saying it would “build on our leadership in key industries, and support vibrant communities across Michigan.”

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Anti-Abortion Groups Appeal Michigan Lower Court Decision

Two county prosecutors and two groups backing abortion are asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to take control of the case Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan after they say the lower court glaringly exceeded its jurisdiction.

The Alliance for Defending Freedom – representing Michigan Right to Life, the Michigan Catholic Coalition, and prosecuting attorneys as well as Gerard M. Jarzynka of Jackson County and Christopher R. Becker of Kent County – filed its complaint Friday.

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Michigan GOP Gubernatorial James Craig Short on Signatures, May Not Qualify for Ballot

Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate James Craig did not submit enough valid signatures and should not be on the state’s primary ballot, Michigan’s Bureau of Elections contended in a report.

According to the group, Craig, in addition to multiple other candidates running for various office, allegedly turned in signatures that were forged by paid circulators.

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Bill Aims to ‘Triple-Tax’ Michigan Car-Sharing Industry

Renting out cars on Turo allowed Bill Huffhine of Rochester Hills to retire early.

But a bill package in the Michigan House could “triple-tax” the emerging peer-to-peer car-sharing industry, Huffhine said, and squash the thin margins that let him accelerate a one-vehicle side-hustle in 2018 into a 20-vehicle fleet.

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15 Michigan Communities Get $7.3 Million for Water Grants

Fifteen Michigan communities will receive $7.3 million in clean water grants.

“Every Michigander in every community deserves access to safe drinking water,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Today’s grants will help 15 communities upgrade their water infrastructure, replace lead service lines, and tackle PFAS and other toxic contaminants. Since I took office, Michigan has invested more in our water infrastructure than the previous eight years. Thanks to bipartisan investments in water infrastructure through the MI Clean Water Plan, we have created jobs, protected public health, and lowered costs for Michigan families.”

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Michigan Governor Asked by Court for Clarity

In April, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the Michigan Supreme Court for declaratory and injunctive relief from the state’s 1931 law banning abortions, claiming the law violated the 1963 state constitution.

She subsequently filed a motion to prevent anti-abortion groups from intervening in the case.

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Legislature Pushes $2.5 Billion Tax Break to Gov. Whitmer

The GOP-dominated Michigan Legislature approved $2.5 billion in far-ranging tax relief amid record 40-year-high inflation.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Democrats pitched sending immediately $500 checks to working families. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, characterized the plan as trying to “pay off” Michiganders for her COVID policies.

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Audit: Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Failed to Limit Access to Sensitive Information

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency failed to perform employee background checks or sever timely ex-employee access to a system that processed more than $36 billion in claims, an auditor general report found.

Auditor General Doug Ringler said the UIA spent $60.8 million on the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System but didn’t take other safeguards to prevent unemployment fraud.

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Despite Campaign Promise from Whitmer, Michigan Roads Remain in Disrepair

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign slogan to “fix the damn roads” gained viral attention for the Michigan Democrat.

However, as she gears up to seek another term, the state is still burdened with infrastructure issues. Residents of the state are required to pay thousands of dollars annually to repair their vehicle due to poor road conditions, according to one study from the nonprofit organization, TRIP.

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Policy Analysts: Claims of Impending Michigan Teacher Shortage Overstated

Amid calls from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to remedy a perceived teacher shortage in Michigan, some of the leading policy analysts in the state claim the governor’s “one-size-fits-all approach” is based on faulty premises.

Those premises are echoed in a Monday report in the education journal Chalkbeat Detroit.

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Michigan Judge’s Abortion Interests Called into Question

Controversy is swirling around Michigan Second District Court of Appeals Chief Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher issuing a preliminary injunction Tuesday afternoon against the state’s moribund 1931 law criminalizing abortions.

Anti-abortion advocates, including Right to Life Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference, assert Gleicher should have recused herself in the case, Planned Parenthood v. Attorney General Dana Nessel, because Gleicher donates regularly to the organization. Additionally, Gleicher offered free legal services to the American Civil Liberties Union and its client Planned Parenthood in a late 1990s abortion case, Mahaffey v. Attorney General.

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Whitmer Touts Job Numbers While Analyst Criticizes Corporate Welfare

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and one economic analyst agree that Michigan needs more workers but disagree on the proper strategies necessary to acquire them.

John Mozena, president of the Center for Economic Accountability, a nonprofit organization for transparent economic development policy, questioned Whitmer’s “doubling down” on big business subsidies while many businesses need workers. There are about 10 million Michiganders but, as of January 2021, only 4.7 million are in the workforce.

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Midwestern States Endure Steep Rise in Drug Overdose Deaths in 2021

U.S. drug overdoses increased 15% between December 2020 and December 2021, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The two-year jump established new records for overdose deaths over previous years.

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