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We’re Calling for Michigan Lawmakers to Budget for Michigan’s Healthy & Just Future

Published on March 20, 2024

In Governor Whitmer’s proposed 2025 budget recommendations, there was much cause for applause, but, unfortunately, there were also some disappointments and even a few boondoggles (Palisades, we’re looking at you.)

We applaud that the budget will fully fund the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to implement the new clean energy laws and help reach 100% clean energy by 2040. Fully funded, the MPSC will be better equipped to advance energy justice and affordability through the new rules, while also ensuring better reliability of Michigan’s energy grid.

In other good news, the Governor’s budget highlights how Michigan can reap the benefits (and funding) from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  A number of the proposed state investments would complement many of the federal clean energy incentives, helping to ensure that Michigan can compete with other states in attracting those federal dollars.  

For example, the budget includes more than $100 million toward Clean Mobility initiatives, including Clean Fleet incentives and more funding to build reliable and accessible EV charging infrastructure needed to support the transition to clean electric transportation. A proposed vehicle purchase rebate, however, needs to be revised to focus exclusively on electric and union-made vehicles, preferably targeted to those with more moderate incomes and gasoline-burdened families that need it most. All of these proposed programs will help to draw related federal funds to the state, multiplying the return on the state's investment.  

While there was cause to celebrate much in the Governor’s proposed budget, there were crucial pieces missing.  For example, to our disappointment the Governor’s budget provided only partial funding for the Whole Home Retrofit Program, which would fund much-needed home energy efficiency investments, like better insulation, roofs, and windows, in addition to energy-efficient appliances and clean energy technology. This energy equity program will help Michiganders living in older homes update their homes to be more comfortable, safe, and energy efficient. The Ecology Center strongly urges our legislators to fully fund the Whole Home Retrofit program. 

There was also a significant deficiency in funding going to support public transit.  While last year’s budget included a long-overdue and needed increase in transit funding, this year’s budget proposal would essentially result in a $40m decrease.  Given the challenges many transit agencies are facing to maintain existing service, this level of funding fails to meet a critical need to expand transit options in the state, as most recently identified by the Governor’s “Growing Michigan Together Council.

As Michigan legislators work with the Administration to finalize a budget, we ask you to join us in calling for a budget that supports Michigan’s healthy and just future, and  allocates vital funding and resources toward Michigan’s public transportation and aging housing stock. There is still time to see important initiatives funded to the fullest benefit of all Michiganders.    

Michigan’s budget must include:  

  • Vital investment in public transportation to ensure that the many Michiganders who do not drive have access to work, school, food, health care and more. We are calling for an additional $60M for Local Bus Operating funding, and $8M for an ebike incentive program to be included in the final budget. 
  • Critical housing retrofit programs to make our homes more affordable, healthy, and comfortable and to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. We are calling for $100M for the Whole Home Retrofit Program. 
  • Clean and electric transportation is key to reducing emissions and growing jobs in our state.  We call for at least $100M to support a new Clean Fleets Initiative and invest in EV Charging Infrastructure, ensuring those funds reach communities that are most in need.  We also call for a revised Clean Vehicle rebate program that is limited to only electric vehicles, is targeted to more moderate income consumers, and maintains a bonus for union-made vehicles. 

The Clean Energy Future bills passed in 2023 set Michigan on the path to becoming a national leader in clean, equitable energy and ensuring the health of Michigan communities.  But, there is much work ahead for ensuring the just and impactful implementation of the new laws, and supporting other areas of needed action. The first major hurdle will be providing sufficient funding for critical initiatives in Michigan’s next budget.