Michigan has the way forward on clean energy

Michigan residents need leaders to fight for a better future for all. With the threat of climate change, that is especially true on the issue of energy and electricity. Thankfully, we have committed leaders who knew that a plan was necessary to secure a clean energy future.

While other states try to figure out the best approach, Michigan is actively leading the way forward. 

We recognized early that success takes preparation. In 2016, we passed a new, bipartisan energy law that enabled tremendous gains on clean energy. Our progress has been undeniable since then, and we aren’t slowing down. 

Part of the reason we’ve been so successful was an early commitment to tackle climate change by prioritizing renewable energy. Michigan has been able to make massive gains while still maintaining reliable and affordable electricity. And that’s critical because it’s not always the case. We’re protecting the environment, providing for communities, and helping businesses succeed. 

The plan we have in place ensures that Michigan will continue to adopt cleaner energy sources in a way that doesn’t exclude anyone, especially low-income Michigan residents. For the good of our environment, communities and economy, Michigan must continue forward. 

Keith Williams, chairman

Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus

College students thank leaders for support  

Students at Michigan’s independent, nonprofit colleges and universities are breathing a collective sigh of relief as they prepare to start a new semester of college, thanks to the restoration of the need-based Michigan Tuition Grant.

Nearly 17,000 of low-income students at independent college colleges and universities in Michigan, many of whom rely on this grant to maintain their enrollment, were caught up in the recent budget impasse in Lansing. Fortunately, their actions to mobilize support for the grant — coupled with the active support of Michigan’s policy leaders — helped ensure its timely restoration.

Today, these students are grateful.

While it’s not the largest item in the state budget, the $38 million Michigan Tuition Grant breaks down to $2,800 per student — and that’s money these students count on. Thanks to the grant, they each save an average of $10,400 in student loan interest. It’s a win for them — and a win for our state, since those savings have a better chance of coming into our economy if they’re in someone’s wallet rather than a student loan payment check.

Without the tuition grant, it was estimated that 4,250 fewer people would earn bachelor’s degrees each year. In the midst of a huge talent gap in our state, that’s a risk Michigan simply could not take. Fortunately, our state’s leaders recognized we all must do everything we can to help build a skilled, educated workforce, and the Michigan Tuition Grant is central to those efforts.

Our leaders also stepped up to help those whose paths to higher education didn’t begin immediately after high school. With more than 200 veterans and 5,646 students older than 25 receiving the grant this year, it was more important than ever for our state leaders to act quickly in restoring the grant.

In early December, when they should have been focused on studying for finals, many college and university students visited the state Capitol to stress just how critical the Michigan Tuition Grant is to their education. A common thread we heard from all the students was they weren’t sure if their educational future would be possible without the grant.

This year’s budget process was difficult for many organizations and Michigan residents who rely on funding from the state of Michigan. While we’re so pleased with the final result, we hope we don’t wind up in this position ever again.

Thankfully, the recent actions of our leaders shows our engines are still running, and our growth is far from slowing down. Michigan is roaring back to life, and our students and families are going to be the big winners when we do.

For that, our state’s students say a heartfelt thank you.

Robert LeFevre, president

Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities

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