How Is the Economy?

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    Michigan, January 16, 2013- Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, delivered his 3rd State of the State Address, accentuating the economic condition and direction of the State of Michigan.

    After sharing a moving story about his visit to Kuwait and giving thanks to our men and women in the military, Governor Snyder began his speech by inquiring: “How is the economy?”

    He then shared qualitative and quantitative results, highlighting some of the outcomes of his administration’s policies;
    • Michigan has the 6th fastest growing economy in the nation
    • Agribusiness has seen sugar and wheat experience record production
    • In the Auto industry, 2.5 million units have been assembled In Michigan
    • Tourism has netted a half Billion dollar increase
    • The personal income growth in Michigan is the 9th fastest in the nation
    • Michigan has gained 177,000 jobs since 2009
    • There has been a 10 percent increase in home sales in Michigan

    State Representative, Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson, MI) weighed in on the accomplishments highlighted by Governor Snyder:

    “With his leadership we have transitioned from getting our balance sheet in order thru making Michigan more attractive to long term, sustained business investment. Now it’s time to focus on making Michigan more attractive to “families and ALL taxpayers”….and that’s exactly what he laid out tonight in his State of the State.”
    Governor Snyder suggested several Reforms that will help Michigan continue to head in the right direction.
    • Personal Property Tax Reform
    • Unemployment Reform
    • Regulatory Reform (There are 10 rules eliminate for every rule created in Michigan)
    • Tort Reform (Snyder said Michigan has the best such reform in the nation)
    Represent Shirkey, elaborating on Snyder’s speech:

    “I continue to be encouraged with Governor Snyder’s commitment to take on tough, long standing issues without retreat. He is not afraid to step up and face current realities despite opposing inertia of status quo advocates. We have some tough hurdles yet to overcome. But if we stay focused on reinventing Michigan’s future we will find the strength and fortitude to overcome politics.”

    Governor Snyder articulated his commitment to build a bridge: “We are moving on with the bridge.” said Snyder, standing by his promise that the bridge will not involve any tax dollars.

    Snyder spoke of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) which he says will drastically improve transportation in Metro Detroit.

    Developing and cultivating trust relationships in struggling Michigan communities and leading by example appears to be very important to the Governor.

    An initiative his administration created, which addresses the above-stated, is called: “Pathway to Potential”, where government employees are encouraged to leave government offices and spend their time working in Flint, Detroit, and Saginaw, Michigan.

    “It is important to go to the customers and show them success”. Snyder said.

    Snyder continued to emphasize, throughout his speech, the economic progress of the State of Michigan, explaining how Michigan had experienced 44 years of economic downturn prior to his administration.

    However, not everyone was as impressed as the Governor might have hoped for.
    Scott Hagerstrom, Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan, called into question some of Governor Snyder’s narrative:

    “Governor Snyder’s Keynesian solutions of higher taxes are not welcome news for struggling Michigan families. As Governor Snyder noted, 1965 was a high-water mark for the Michigan economy. What Snyder fails to recognize is Michigan’s implementation of the state income tax in the late 1960s was a primary reason for our economic decline. Michigan is competing with nine states that do not tax work. This is why Louisiana and Nebraska Governors are looking to eliminate their state income tax.”

    Hagerstrom concluded: “While AFP-MI applauds the Governor for his support of Workplace Freedom legislation in December, it is time to surpass other states through additional groundbreaking reform for Michigan – the elimination of the state income tax.”

    Governor Snyder offered a bleak analysis of Michigan’s educational system.
    • Only 17 percent of the State are college graduates
    • 60 percent of the students in local community colleges are taking remedial classes because they are not college ready

    The E.A.A. (Education Achievement Authority of Michigan – Education Achievement System) is a part of Snyder’s solution to gradually fixing Michigan’s broken education system.

    The longer school year, Individualized learning centers and “no grade system” of the E.A.A. appears to be making great progress within the pilot programs Governor Snyder has created in urban communities.

    Snyder was noticeably excited when he announced the creation of a new agency which has been created to focus solely upon assisting Military veterans with finding gainful employment, particularly in skill trades

    Skill trades are an issue the Governor expressed as among his priorities. He noted how Michigan has numerous jobs in skill trades that are available, but are not being filled.

    Governor Snyder has, throughout his administration, been vigilant in working to remove barriers to skill trade jobs being filled by Michigan residents. Banning the discriminatory, anti-open merit shop labor policy, Project Labor Agreements, is one the steps he has taken.

    Unfortunately, Labor Unions have not been supportive of the Governor’s efforts to help create a level playing field where all Michigan skill trade workers have an opportunity to work, union and non-union alike.

    Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman and former State Rep., Dave Agenda, had the following to say about the Governor’s speech:

    “The Governor and the legislature have done an outstanding job of making Michigan a better place to do business, which helps job creation. However, the breakdown of the family in our state has caused crime and entitlement dependency which must also be addressed.”

    “As a conservative”, Agema added, “I’d prefer to see a prioritization of all spending before any taxes, fines or fees are raised. Moreover, I would like to see necessary changes in our laws to prevent illegal immigration and foreign laws from entering into our courts, causing our citizens to lose their constitutional rights from trans-national judges. We must defend our constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Thus far, we have not done so.”

    Overall, Governor Snyder focused strictly upon the gains of the State, praising those who have played a significant role in those gains, concluding his speech by promoting a bipartisan message:

    “We must work hard to find common ground where we can work together’.

    Editor’s Note: Stacy Swimp is the President of the Frederick Douglass Society, Chairperson of the Diversity Chapter of Associated, Builders and Contractors-Greater Michigan and the Chapter’s National Liaison. He is also a Spokesperson for Project 21, the Nation’s Largest Network of Black Conservatives. Stacy may be contacted at stacyswimp@stacyswimp.com  

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