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Snyder offers road map to drive change in Michigan's economy and government

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011

Contact: Geralyn Lasher

Decisive action, inclusiveness highlights of the State of the State

LANSING, MI - Governor Rick Snyder's relentless drive to energize Michigan's lagging economy and reshape state government is under way, and his first State of the State address provides a detailed road map to keep that positive momentum moving forward.

"Reinventing Michigan demands that we break the bad habits of the past and embrace opportunities for our future," Snyder said.  "It also requires the resolve of leaders in Lansing and of every Michigan resident.  Let me be clear - the months ahead will involve difficult but necessary decisions.  We will all sacrifice.  But working together, we will chart a new course and measure our progress.  At the end of the day, we'll be a stronger, more vibrant state."

A key step in moving Michigan forward is the setting of clear, measurable goals that serve as a catalyst for positive change.  The governor unveiled a website that lets officials and the public gauge Michigan's progress.  The Michigan Dashboard, which is available online at shows the status of progress in meeting objectives that impact economic growth, education, public health and safety, value for taxpayer dollars in government, and overall quality of life.

"The State of the State will from now on be a report card of where we are as a state," Snyder said.  "It will be a realistic assessment of where we are improving, where we are not improving and what we need to do to move forward."

Snyder also explained specific steps he is taking, such as reorganizing state government around purpose rather than function. That includes refocusing its economic development efforts to better support local and regional initiatives.  To help reverse the brain drain that hampers Michigan's ability to attract high-tech industries, the Department of Civil Rights will develop initiatives to encourage immigrants with advanced college degrees to move to Michigan.

"One-half of startups in Silicon Valley have a foreign national as one of the founders.  Immigration made us a great state and country.  We need to embrace the concept again as a way to speed our reinvention," Snyder said.   

For the first time, Snyder publicly announced he supports plans to build a second bridge over the Detroit River.  The governor revealed that during only his second week in office, he secured an agreement to allow Michigan to count $550 million Canada has offered to invest in the project toward Michigan's federal match for road funds, which will significantly ease the burden on the budget and ensure the state will have funds for road repairs and infrastructure improvements in future years.

"Every farmer and manufacturer in the state can tell you why it is important to have world trade.  This new bridge will create jobs, strengthen our economy and help establish Michigan as a hub for global commerce," Snyder said.

To help the agriculture industry, Gov. Snyder asked lawmakers to strengthen the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program to make it a seal of assurance, so that farmers who run environmentally-sound operations are protected from unnecessary regulations and frivolous lawsuits.

He also announced his budget recommendation will include $25 million to keep funding the successful "Pure Michigan" tourism advertising campaign.

Continuing his pursuit of "relentless, positive action," the governor announced his administration will adhere to self-imposed timelines, including delivering his budget recommendation to the Legislature in mid-February, a month before the deadline.  The budget recommendation will include Snyder's plan to eliminate the job-killing Michigan Business Tax and replace it with a 6 percent corporate income tax.

Following the budget recommendation, the governor will aggressively push his agenda through a series of "special messages" to the Legislature, starting with government reform in March and education in April.



EDITORS NOTE: Attached is an outline of Governor Rick Snyder's State of the State address.