Granholm Says Michigan Will Weather Economic Storm
February 3, 2009
State of the State address focuses on creating jobs, educating and training citizens, and protecting families
"Michigan will weather this economic storm because our people are resourceful and resilient and because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most," Granholm told a joint session of the Legislature. "Fighting for more good-paying jobs in Michigan; educating and training our people to fill those jobs; and protecting our families during the worst economic conditions in more than a quarter of a century."
The governor did not sugarcoat the challenges facing Michigan but reassured citizens that things will get better, because the state has made job creation, education, and training its key focus, and because Michigan now has a partner in the White House who shares our agenda.
"President Obama's priorities are nearly identical to ours," said Granholm. "He, too, is focused on jobs for middle America. He, too, is focused on education. He, too, is focused on protecting people."
Granholm said Michigan is better-prepared than most states to take advantage of President Obama's proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, because the state has already made tough budget choices, and because of our focus on renewable energy jobs. She highlighted a number of new renewable energy jobs that have come to Michigan since the state began its efforts to diversify into this growing economic sector, including Mariah Power in Manistee, Hemlock Semiconductor near Saginaw, and Great Lakes Turbine in Monroe.
The governor outlined a critical new goal to increase the number of renewable energy jobs in Michigan. By the year 2020, Michigan will reduce its use of imported energy and reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45 percent through increasing our use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and other new technologies. Taking this important step will enable Michigan to take advantage of the rising national demand for renewable energy to increase the supply of good-paying jobs in Michigan.
The governor detailed five steps to help the state meet this ambitious goal, including allowing citizens and businesses to sell electricity generated from solar and wind power back to the utility companies, creating a Michigan Energy Corps to put thousands of unemployed citizens back to work weatherizing homes, schools and other buildings and launching Michigan Saves, a program to help citizens and businesses install energy efficiency products with no up-front costs.
"The nation is moving to a new energy future, but if we are willing to think strategically and act boldly, like we have in other sectors, Michigan can lead job creation in this area, too," said Granholm.
To advance her three core goals, the governor also called for:
- streamlining government to dramatically reduce its shape and size. The governor has asked Lt. Governor John D. Cherry, Jr. to lead a comprehensive effort to create a government that provides better service at less cost to taxpayers.
- maintaining our fiscal responsibility through additional budget cuts and reforms. In her budget she will propose next week, the governor will recommend elimination of the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries, ending state financial support for the two state fairs, returning enforcement of wetlands protections to the federal government, and continuing to reform our criminal justice system to further reduce the corrections budget.
- freezing college tuition for the next academic year to ensure that families are not priced out of a college education as the result of rising costs.
- helping citizens keep their homes through passage of the Home Foreclosure Prevention Act to give families at risk of foreclosure up to 90 days to work out a financing arrangement.
- freezing insurance rates for 12 months while the Legislature works to enact comprehensive insurance reform to ensure that Michigan drivers have access to solid coverage at fair and affordable rates.
- protecting access to health care during this time of economic crisis. The governor asked legislators to renew their commitment to protecting vulnerable citizens by refusing to cut people off of health care.
"The days when government could be all things to all people are behind us," Granholm said. "It's a time that demands relentless focus and discipline."