Gov. Rick Snyder: Corporate tax hike for roads would undo economic progress

By Rick Snyder

Michigan needs a comprehensive, sustainable solution to address our aging infrastructure and make our roads and bridges safer for residents for generations to come.

That's something we all can agree on.

We can accomplish this by building on what has made us successful and remembering the challenges of the past, when our state had the nation's highest unemployment and too many of our children had to leave our families to find jobs elsewhere.

That was the period we call the "Lost Decade," and we've together taken many steps to get Michigan back on the right path.

One of the key changes we made in 2011 was reforming our tax code, eliminating the Michigan Business Tax — which many called the dumbest tax in America — and replacing it with a fairer Corporate Income Tax.

That move in particular helped our small and middle-sized businesses, the economic engines of our state that provide solid, middle-class jobs for much of Michigan.

The results have helped make Michigan the Comeback State, with more than 400,000 new private sector jobs created since the end of 2010. In fact, our state ranks fifth in the nation for job creation — and tops in the Midwest. Our unemployment rate, once the highest in the country, has been more than cut in half — from 11.2 percent to 5.5 percent and we now are about at the national average.

Together, with my partners in the Legislature, we've created the environment for businesses to thrive and create more and better jobs.

And we can do better. We're building talent, we're investing in education and we are setting the conditions for this momentum to continue long into the future.

Like we did with transforming our economy, we need to do the same with our infrastructure. But going backwards is not how we solve this issue. 

Raising the taxes on our job creators would be economically challenging for Michigan, especially after we've come so far in reinventing our business climate. One proposal would nearly double the Corporate Income Tax, and would put Michigan at a disadvantage as we look for businesses in our state to grow and create more jobs. Our reformed tax climate, like our talent, ingenuity and the famous Michigan work ethic, is one of the factors that have brought companies from around the country and around the world to locate here.

We know we need to invest more in our roads. I've supported increasing user fees that would be dedicated to maintaining, ensuring money will be available to invest each and every year to make our roads safer. These are difficult decisions, and we are striving to get it right. A bipartisan solution is preferable.

Our Michigan story is one that we all can be proud of. We shouldn't tear down the pillars of that success, but rather build upon them, together. We cannot put the brakes on our economic momentum.

The Governor's Op-Ed appeared in MLive on August 3, 2015