Governor Gretchen Whitmer made two roundtable stops in West Michigan, hearing from Michiganders on what she should focus on in her upcoming State of the State Address and budget proposal.
Her second stop of the day was in Grand Rapids where she met with the Chamber of Commerce and several small business owners to hear their concerns for their sector of the economy coming out of COVID.
Major concerns were around staffing, training and housing but a select few pointed out how they may have fallen through the cracks.
Listed as “essential businesses,” they were able to be open during the pandemic but did not qualify for many relief grants. This despite facing the same staffing shortages, cost increases and revenue loss as those who could.
“It was a finite amount of money and they were so much need so when a grant was made available, sometimes the opportunities were gone before people could even apply,” said Whitmer, “That’s just how great the need was, that’s why as we look to the budget, that we turn this projected deficit into a surplus, how do we use all these resources? That’s why these conversations are so important.”
The state still has billions of unspent COVID relief dollars that could be allocated in the upcoming budget proposal.