182 days of Relentless Positive Action

Saturday, June 30, 2011

July 1 marks the 182nd day of the Snyder administration - a self-imposed deadline by which the governor said he wanted to set a new course for a reinvented Michigan.  As we approach this milestone, here is a look back at some of the major events and accomplishments along the way:

Day 1:   
Inauguration ceremony 

Day 4:  
The governor signed his first executive order, adding rural development to the agriculture department's mission

Day 6:  
Federal government agreed to allow Michigan to count $550 million from Canada for construction of the New International Trade Crossing as the state's matching funds for road projects, which will allow the state to leverage up to $2.2 billion for other road improvement projects throughout the state

Day 10:
Brian Zahra appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court

Day 19:
State of the State

Day 31:
Plain-English Citizen's Guide unveiled so residents can better understand Michigan's financial position

Day 48:
Governor proposed a structurally balanced, two-year budget plan to the Legislature a month ahead of deadline

Day 53:
Governor attended Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's State of the City address

Day 54:
Created the Office of Regulatory Reinvention to streamline regulations 

Day 67:
First bill signed into law strengthened the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program

Day 69:
Second bill signed into law established a stable funding source for the Pure Michigan tourism advertising campaign

Day 75:
The governor signed legislation updating Michigan's emergency manager law, giving the state an early warning system when local governments are in financial distress

Day 80:
Local government reform plan unveiled

Day 88:
Outdated and costly item pricing law repealed

Day 109:
The governor attended the Small Town and Rural Development conference in northern Michigan

Day 117:
Plan to reinvent Michigan's education system unveiled

Day 131:
First Reinventing Michigan award given to Energetx Composites of Holland

Day 145:
Tax reform signed into law.  Job-killing MBT replaced with flat, 6-percent corporate income tax.  Ended double tax on small business owners

Day 146:
Budget approved by lawmakers - earliest completed in three decades

Day 153:
Pure Michigan Business Connect announced - partnership with Huntington Bank and others will result in $3 billion of investment and capital being made available to Michigan businesses so they can expand

Day 159:
In partnership with the MEDC, Varnum law firm offered $1 million in free legal services to help small start-up companies

Day 164:
Met with rating agencies in New York to discuss improving Michigan's bond rating, which will save the state millions of dollars a year in borrowing costs

Day 171:
Education Achievement System plan for failing schools announced to ensure all Michigan students can get the education they need and deserve

Day 172:
Budget signed into law  

182 days by the numbers:

The governor has been extraordinarily accessible.  He has participated in 117 public events and had 131 meetings with lawmakers. 

Transparency is a top priority.  The governor has held 38 press conferences and more than 200 one-on-one interviews with reporters to share the administration's plans and explain their importance to the state.

The governor has committed to holding state government accountable for 21 dashboard metrics at the next State of the State address.

The governor's focus on results instead of partisan fighting is paying off.  He has signed 71 bills into law and 9 executive orders. 

The governor made 3 visits to the North American International Auto Show. 

Snyder wore a tie 39 times.

The governor earned 50 cents of take home salary for 182 days of work.

Up next on Gov. Snyder's agenda are health and wellness, infrastructure, and talent and work force development issues.


182 days of accomplishments

Jobs:

  • Repealed the job-killing Michigan Business Tax and replaced it with a flat, 6-percent corporate income tax that is simple, fair and efficient.
  • Ended the unfair double tax on small business owners.
  • Leveled the playing field for all job creators by eliminating the Michigan Business Tax's loopholes and preferential treatment for some companies and industries over others.
  • Refocused the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to provide greater assistance to Michigan businesses and focus on an economic gardening strategy to help local businesses grow.
  • Added rural development to the agriculture department's mission to help build the economy in rural areas.
  • Strengthened the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, helping farmers run environmentally sound operations that are economically viable.
  • Expanded the 21st Century Jobs Fund to help the agriculture community create jobs in rural areas and make the fund available to more technology industries.
  • Set up a stable funding source for the successful Pure Michigan advertising campaign to help the tourism industry grow.
  • Eliminated the outdated and costly Item Pricing Law to help businesses in Michigan stay competitive while still protecting consumers.
  • Worked with the federal government to allow Michigan to count $550 million from Canada for construction of the New International Trade Crossing as the state's matching funds for road projects, which will allow the state to leverage up to $2.2 billion for other road improvement projects throughout the state.  This project is vital for expanding exports and economic growth.
  • Secured $200 million from the federal government for an accelerated rail project.
  • Announced Pure Michigan Business Connect, which in partnership with Huntington Bank and others will result in $3 billion of investment and capital being made available to Michigan businesses so they can grow.
  • In partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Varnum law firm offered $1 million in free legal services to help small start-up companies.
  • Directed the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to coordinate with local and regional economic development efforts.
  • Created a stable business environment, providing certainty that allows businesses to plan long-term and invest.
  • Reformed the film subsidy so that it is sustainable, but still included $100 million for the next fiscal year to help the industry grow.
  • Included $75 million for the 21st Century Jobs Fund to help promote economic development, including $50 million for Brownfield and Historic Preservation Credits.
  • Established the Global Michigan Immigration Initiative to attract immigrants with advanced degrees to Michigan, thereby creating more opportunities for high tech companies and job growth across the state.
  • Dissolved the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, allowing daycare owners to keep more of their earnings.
  • Proposed comprehensive plan to reinvent our educational system in order to make sure our students are able to compete in the global economy.

Putting Michigan's fiscal house in order:

  • Completed a structurally balanced budget that eliminates Michigan's $1.5 billion deficit without using any accounting gimmicks.  This is the earliest the budget has been finished in 30 years.
  • Proposed a two-year budget that focuses on long-term planning.
  • Demonstrated responsibility by putting $255 million into the state rainy day fund - the first significant deposit in more than a decade.  Without this, Michigan only had enough money saved up to run the state for 30 minutes.
  • Put more than $400 million toward paying down unfunded liabilities.  Under the old way of doing things, the state was operating on an irresponsible cash in, cash out basis and not planning for the future.
  • Met with rating agencies in New York to discuss improving Michigan's bond rating, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars in borrowing costs.
  • Proposed a comprehensive local government reform plan that focuses on adopting best practices and regional cooperation so taxpayers get value for money.
  • Proposed a plan to deal with the unsustainable cost of employee retirement health care benefits.  Passage of the legislation will result in a $5.6 billion reduction of these long-term liabilities, cutting unfunded retirement health care liabilities by more than a third.
  • Closed an unneeded prison.
  • Saved taxpayers $45 million by reorganizing MDOT, which includes consolidating facilities, not filling positions and emphasizing a focus on core functions.
  • Avoided thoughtless across-the-board cuts and instead made a careful review of state government.

Education:

  • Devoted 53 percent of state resources in the budget are devoted to education - more than all other areas of the budget combined.
  • Preserved 98 percent of K-12 funding and worked with lawmakers from both parties to make sure schools funding was cut by less than 2 percent.  Schools were encouraged to utilize best practices. 
  • Provided an incentive for universities to keep tuition rate increases down.
  • Proposed sweeping education reforms aimed at transforming Michigan's educational system from one still rooted in the days of a mostly farm-based society to one that prepares students for the technological age of today and jobs of tomorrow. 
  • Focused on creating a performance-based education system that puts students first.
  • Established a new Education Achievement System for the lowest performing schools.
  • Created Michigan Office of Great Start to focus on and coordinate early childhood development and ensure kids are ready to succeed on their first day in the classroom.
  • Linked a portion of K-12 school funding to implementing best practices (such as competitive bidding and sensible consolidation) in order to ensure more funds go into the classroom instead of being spent on administrative costs.
  • Proposed teacher tenure reform so staffing decision are based on merit instead of seniority.

Protecting the vulnerable:

  • Preserved jobless benefits for 35,000 unemployed Michigan residents.
  • Kept Medicaid provider reimbursement rates intact in order to protect the most vulnerable.
  • Created Michigan Office of Great Start to focus on early childhood development and ensure kids are ready to succeed on their first day in the classroom.
  • Developed and launched an online Summer Food Service site locator for low-income families to find free and nutritious summer meals for children.
  • Appointed longtime children's advocate and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan to head the Michigan Department of Human Services.
  • Hired hundreds of highly qualified Michigan college graduates to work in children's protective, foster care, adoption, juvenile and home licensing services to improve the child welfare system.
  • Brought Michigan into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act.
  • Approved legislation giving patients in rural areas more control over where they receive medical treatment.
  • Gave retired dentists who volunteer their services immunity from lawsuits to ensure more low-income families have access to dental care.
  • Created an heirloom birth certificate to raise funds for the Michigan Children's Trust Fund.
  • Enabled a more mobile work force by providing laptops and mobile phones to children services workers so they can spend more time in the field getting their jobs done and less time in the office on paperwork and data entry.
  • Worked with the Legislature to pass laws that streamline the path to permanency for children in foster care.
  • Launched a new program that will more closely track children in the child welfare system.
  • Expanded the partnership between the Veterans Administration and the aging network to provide home-based long-term care support and services to veterans and their caregivers.

Regulatory Reform:

  • Created the Office of Regulatory Reinvention to review and streamline regulations.
  • Eliminated the outdated and costly Item Pricing Law to help businesses in Michigan stay competitive while still protecting consumers.
  • Reorganized the former Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth into the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to sharpen its mission and better coordinate programs across state government.
  • Approved Holland and Rogers City power permits after a thorough review that followed the law following a court decision that the previous process used to block these projects was illegal.
  • Prohibited costly and burdensome ergonomic mandates.
  • Office of Environmental Assistance created to focus on pollution prevention, compliance assistance and customer service.
  • Updated landline telephone service regulations to keep pace with changing technology.
  • Modernized the Occupational Code to eliminate requirements that brokers display real estate licenses by hanging them on their wall.
  • Exempted temporary, out-of-state athletics trainers from state licensing requirements.
  • Established Advisory Rules Committees to review rules and make recommendations to the Office of Regulatory Reinvention on how to improve Michigan's regulatory system to make it more conducive to business growth and job creation.
  • Created the Michigan Administrative Hearing System as an independent agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Tax reform:

  • Repealed the job-killing Michigan Business Tax and replaced it with a flat, 6-percent corporate income tax that is simple, fair and efficient.
  • Leveled the playing field for all job creators by eliminating the Michigan Business Tax's loopholes and preferential treatment for some companies and industries over others. 
  • Ended the unfair double tax on small business owners.
  • Reformed the tax system to make sure the burden is not pushed onto young people and ensure seniors and families are protected. 

Agriculture:

  • Added rural development to the agriculture department's mission to help build the economy in rural areas.
  • Strengthened the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, helping farmers run environmentally sound operations that are economically viable. 
  • Expanded the 21st Century Jobs Fund to help the agriculture community create jobs in rural areas.
  • Working to increase broadband access so hi-tech food processing facilities are able to operate in rural areas of the state.

Tourism:

  • Set up a stable funding source for the successful Pure Michigan advertising campaign to help the tourism industry grow.

Transportation:

  • Secured $200 million from the federal government for an accelerated rail project.
  • Worked with the federal government to allow Michigan to count $550 million from Canada for construction of the New International Trade Crossing as the state's matching funds for road projects, which will allow the state to leverage up to $2.2 billion for other road improvement projects throughout the state.  This project is vital for expanding exports and economic growth.

Changing the culture from negative to positive:

  • The governor is working to change the tone in Lansing by staying positive and not getting involved in partisan fighting.  He does not waste time on blame or fighting over credit.
  • Worked with lawmakers to enact 71 pieces of quality legislation.  Many bills were approved with strong bipartisan support.
  • Held 131 meetings with lawmakers.
  • Communicated the administration's policy priorities to the Legislature through two "Special Messages" that offered clear blueprints to accomplish objectives.  The special messages focused on education and local government reform.
  • Completed a structurally balanced budget that eliminates Michigan's $1.5 billion deficit without using any accounting gimmicks.  This is the earliest the budget has been finished in 30 years.

Accessibility:

  • The governor has participated in 117 public events, held 38 news conferences and has done more than 200 one-on-one interviews with reporters in order to share the administration's plans and why they are important to the state.
  • The governor has had 131 meetings with lawmakers.

Accountability:

  • Created the Michigan Dashboard to help drive improvements in key areas and provide the state with a gauge to measure its success in meeting goals.
  • The governor has committed to holding state government accountable for 21 key metrics at the next State of the State.

Public safety:

  • Established an advisory board that will offer recommendations to the Michigan State Police about issues related to the development and use of criminal justice information systems.  The goal is to make sure state and local law enforcement agencies are working together to share vital information that is needed to keep communities safe.
  • Created the Biometrics and Identification Division within the Michigan State Police to emphasize the science and technologies that are critical to the future of public safety.  This follows a model recently established by the FBI, and Michigan is the first state with this concentration highlighted in its organizational structure.
  • Provided the Michigan State Police with greater flexibility that allows troopers to spend more time in the field under an innovative regional policing plan.
  • Avoided layoffs of state troopers and graduated a new class of troopers.
  • Brought Michigan into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act.
  • Increased penalties for moving violations committed in school bus safety zones in order to keep school children safe.
  • Streamlined the parole board so parole decisions are taken out of the governor's office and rightfully returned to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
  • Maintained the school bus safety inspection program.

Helping communities:

  • Updated Michigan's Emergency Manager Law to give the state an early warning system when local schools and communities are in financial distress and additional tools to regain their fiscal footing and hopefully avoid the need for an emergency manager.
  • Proposed a comprehensive local government reform plan that focuses on adopting best practices and regional cooperation so taxpayers get value for money.
  • Directed the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to coordinate with local and regional economic development efforts.
  • Assisted the city of Detroit by signing legislation that allows it to continue collecting income tax revenue and utility user fees despite its population decline.
  • Included $75 million for the 21st Century Jobs Fund to help promote economic development, including $50 million for Brownfield and Historic Preservation Credits.
  • Coordinated with the Michigan Turnaround Management Association and Michigan State University to develop and conduct training for potential future emergency managers and current local government/ school district officials.
  • Assisted local units of government, including Flint, Ecorse, Hamtramck, Detroit Public Schools and Detroit with cash flow management to ensure they would remain fiscally stable.

Government reform:

  • Proposed a comprehensive local government reform plan that focuses on adopting best practices and regional cooperation so taxpayers get value for money.
  • Updated Michigan's Emergency Manager Law to give the state an early warning when local governments are in financial distress and the tools to help them avoid bankruptcy.
  • Linked a portion of K-12 school funding to implementing best practices (such as competitive bidding and sensible consolidation) in order to ensure more funds go into the classroom instead of being spent on administrative costs.
  • Reformed the film subsidy to make it sustainable, but still included $100 million for the next fiscal year to help the industry grow.
  • Utilized technology to deliver state police services more efficiently instead of cutting troopers.
  • Put 48 month (four year) lifetime limit on welfare benefits for able-bodied people who are capable of working, but with exceptions for hardships.
  • Closed an unneeded prison. 
  • Saved taxpayers $45 million by reorganizing MDOT, which includes consolidating facilities, not filling positions and emphasizing a focus on core functions.
  • The Department of Technology, Management and budget eliminated more than 1,100 unnecessary forms and started an automation project that will eliminate paper and hand routing on numerous other forms, saving wasted staff time and office supplies costs.
  • Cracked down on abuse of the Bridge Card system.
  • Approved legislation to freeze wages and benefits for public employees during contract negotiations in order to ensure good-faith bargaining.
  • Initiated development of an Electronic Medical and Business Record System (EMBRS) in state hospitals/ centers to replace paper systems.

Using technology to improve customer service:

  • Developed and launched an online Summer Food Service site locator for low-income families to find free and nutritious summer meals for children.
  • Revamped the e-license system to make it easier to purchase hunting, fishing and other licenses from the state.
  • Built a new Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website aimed at improving customer service and making information more readily available.
  • Published a 2011 Michigan Transportation Map that enables travelers to use smart phones to scan QR codes to get more information.  No other state includes multiple QR codes and links on their map.
  • Introduced a free mobile version of MDOT's popular MI Drive traffic website.
  • Launched Camping and Recreation Locator app for iTunes, Blackberry and Android phones.
  • Developing enhancements to the online business self-service application, which will allow users to verify sales tax licenses, request additional forms, payment coupons or copies of licenses, and verify payment amounts.

Protecting natural resources and improving quality of life:

  • Issued an executive order creating separate departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality, allowing the departments to better focus on their core missions.
  • Approved more than $102 million in Natural Resources Trust Fund grants for 117 land acquisitions and recreation projects.
  • Signed legislation that will help the DNR better protect Michigan's natural resources by allowing volunteers to take on a larger role in the state's land and wildlife conservation efforts.
  • Saved 23 state forest campgrounds that were set to be closed due to state budget cuts by entering into creative joint operating agreements with local communities.
  • Budget includes funding for Great Lakes restoration projects.
  • Strengthened the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, helping farmers run environmentally sound operations that are economically viable.
  • Added new permitting provisions for hydraulic fracturing to further increase accountability and environmental protection while still allowing oil and natural gas to be captured.
  • Wetlands Advisory Committee re-established.
  • The Department of Environmental Quality is working with Michigan food producers on environmentally safe wastewater disposal methods in order to resolve long-standing concerns around the state.

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