Michiganders Want People, Lower Prices to be Top Priorities for Next Legislative Session
December 15, 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tom Lenard, Michigan State Director, tom@stateinnovation.org Cell 517-709-2044

Poll finds residents expect lawmakers to focus on making necessities more affordable by taking on corporations and requiring them to pay what they owe in taxes.

LANSING, Mich. – Looking ahead to the 2023-24 state legislative term, Michiganders are expecting lawmakers to focus on matters that improve their daily lives, like lowering the price of necessities and supporting schools. A poll conducted by EPIC-MRA on behalf of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) examined opinions on a number of issues that Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Legislators may tackle when they return to Lansing in January.

“It will be a new year and new legislative majorities in Lansing, but the people of Michigan have the same strong desire for fixing problems like poor roads, medications that are way too expensive, and underfunded schools,” said Bernie Porn, President of EPIC-MRA. “Clearly, Michiganders want Governor Whitmer and lawmakers to get to work as soon as possible in addressing these priorities when the new legislative session begins in January.”

When asked directly what the top priority should be, the leading responses included:

  • 31% Improving the Michigan economy and reducing the high cost of living
  • 20% Improving the quality of education and increasing funding for education
  • 14% Reducing the cost of quality, affordable health care
  • 12% Upgrading infrastructure, roads, bridges, dams, drinking water & wastewater treatment systems

As to how Michiganders prefer lawmakers to address these issues, investing in communities and holding corporations accountable emerged as common themes. 87 percent of respondents support “providing additional state funding to provide assistance to the needs of different children, especially those in special education, learning English, living in poverty, or living in isolated, rural areas” instead of our current one-size-fits-all per pupil funding model. And for the nearly $7 billion left in state budget funds due to pandemic relief funding and increased revenue collections, 84 percent support “state officials using most of those funds to provide additional funding for road repairs, needed improvements to older school buildings, and water infrastructure upgrades.”

Respondents also believe that profitable corporations need to be held responsible for lowering prices, cleaning up pollution, and paying what they owe in taxes:

  • 97% support “requiring polluters to pay to cleanup bodies of water and sites they contaminate, whether it’s used for drinking or not”
  • 80% support “creating a drug affordability board in Michigan that would decide the appropriate prices for prescription drugs and medications”
  • 78% support “enactment of laws that would regulate how much profit companies and utilities can make and require them to reduce prices for what many consider to be necessities of life, like prescription medications, drinking water, and gasoline”

“The people of Michigan are ready for the Governor and Legislature to take on those responsible for underfunding our schools and communities, while driving up prices and piling up profits,” said Tom Lenard, SiX Michigan State Director. “Not only can they start to reverse the harm done over decades, they can begin to create a state that allows every worker to thrive, every student succeed, and every neighborhood prosper.”

The legislature should also work to provide more resources to support families and help workers have space to take care of their loved ones according to the survey. 89% support the Governor and legislature providing resources for “maternal and infant health” and 81% support

“​​allowing Michigan to join with other states in creating a state level paid family and medical leave law that would permit workers to receive time off to care for a seriously ill family member, or to care for a new addition to their family.”

Links to the full results can be found here: Toplines, Cross-tabs, Analysis. The statewide survey included live interviews of 600 active and likely November 2024 voters between November 30 – December 6, 2022. The sample was made up of 65% cell phones and the margin of error is  +/- 4%.

ABOUT SIX

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy. SiX provides legislators with on-the-ground support; creates tailored policy research, trainings, and communications guidance; and fosters collaboration between legislators—across chambers, across regions, and across state lines—and with grassroots movements.

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