Whitmer ignores taxpayer in school lunch pitch

State of the State speech gives credit to politicians, not the public, for funding 2.8 million school lunches daily

There is no such thing as a free school lunch. Every single one is taxpayer-funded.

But Michigan media and top politicians appear to think that taxpayer-funded lunches are a gift from the government.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pushed to continue Michigan’s universal school lunch program in her sixth State of the State address Wednesday, extending the costly program beyond the one year it was budgeted for.

The program cost $160 million for the 2023-24 school year. The closest Whitmer came to crediting anyone for paying that bill was when she mentioned two lawmakers who led the push.

“All 1.4 million public school students get two meals a day so they can focus on learning, and parents save $850 a year on groceries, per child,” Whitmer said. “I want to thank Sen. Darrin Camilleri and Rep. Regina Weiss who led this effort. When I introduce my next budget, we’re going to keep feeding students and lowering grocery bills.”

Read it for yourself: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2024 State of the State address

The 2024 effort will be led by Rep. Jaime Churches, D-Wyandotte, and Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia.

Churches admitted recently that universal free lunch owes to taxpayers, not politicians.

Whitmer’s speech indicates that Official Lansing won’t follow suit. Politicians demand all the credit.

When they take it, CapCon will be there to remind ten million Michiganders of reality. There is no such thing as government money. We the people pay for every free lunch served by politicians.

James David Dickson is a Detroit News columnist and managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.