Michigan House Communications and Technology Committee Chair Michele Hoitenga today criticized a high-speed internet directive unveiled by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and upcoming legislative plans to accompany it – saying the proposals replicate failed practices from other states and are “press fluff opportunities” that lack an action plan.
Whitmer’s Executive Directive 2021-02 establishes the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, which will be housed inside the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. The office will be tasked with developing a high-speed internet strategy for the state and coordinating both funding and implementation.
Hoitenga called the plan duplicative as Whitmer already established the Connecting Michigan Taskforce in 2020. The third-term legislator said another state-level broadband program is not needed when multiple thoughtful and effective grant programs have recently been enacted – the Connecting Michigan Communities Grant Program and the Broadband Expansion Act of Michigan, the latter of which was spearheaded by Hoitenga.
“We know what needs to be done to increase expansion efforts,” said Hoitenga, of Manton. “We don’t need more new government committees or dedicated bodies to keep telling us the same information on what needs to happen. The governor should instead stop vetoing legislation that seeks to help broadband expansion efforts.
“It’s important to prioritize broadband access. I have done so, but these plans are tone deaf and create additional issues. Gov. Whitmer announcing this initiative in Detroit – which already enjoys more broadband access than much of rural and northern Michigan – shows she’s missed the mark with her approach to this problem. The answer to every problem is not more government.”
State Rep. Michele Hoitenga this week voted to advance budget proposals that make crucial investments in schools, roads and public safety throughout northern Michigan and prioritize sustainable spending, while paving the way for needed tax relief.
As inflation, shortages and supply chain disruptions send costs for working families soaring, state Rep. Michele Hoitenga today criticized Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for failing to put forth comprehensive tax relief ideas in her annual State of the State address.