Michigan, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder — January 17, 2014 at 6:37 am

Rick Snyder’s State of the State address: Takes all of the credit, none of the blame, & shows no leadership


Isn’t that convenient?

After Rick Snyder finished his State of the State address last night, my wife Anne pointed out that, while his predecessor Jennifer Granholm used her State of the State addresses to highlight all of the things she and her fellow Democrats had actually DONE to make Michigan a better place, Rick Snyder mainly just rattled off a list of good things as without connecting them to anything he and the Republicans have done.

For example, he said this:

Our big three industries are autos, agriculture and tourism. All are hitting on full cylinders and it’s a wonderful thing to see. I went to the Auto Show just this week. The auto industry is back in our country, over 14 million units sold. But, one number you may not know is right here in Michigan. This last year over 2.25 million units of those 14 million units were assembled right here in Michigan and we should be proud of that.

The resurgence of the auto industry has absolutely nothing to do with anything that Rick Snyder and the Republicans have done. In fact, it was Democrat Jennifer Granholm, working in partnership with the Obama administration, that saved our domestic vehicle manufacturing base, largely against a Republican head wind.

On agriculture, it continues to do well. We had a challenging year. We had a freeze early in the year and that devastated some of our fruit crops and that was terrible. We had drought issues, but overall we had a strong year. We had record production in sugar beets and wheat, for example.

Again, nothing Rick Snyder has done had anything at all to do with the output of our state’s farms.

Gov. Snyder touted increasing home prices, a fractional increase in our state population, “putting the ‘rapids’ back in Grand Rapids” — all items that his policies had virtually nothing to do with.

Education and kids came up a lot in our Governor’s speech but he continues to perpetuate the myth that our schools have more money to work with than when he came into office. Think that’s true? Go to any school board member in the state and ask them if they have more money in their budget today than they did three years ago. What Gov. Snyder neglected to say is that a record number of schools in financial crisis under his watch and 13 more went into deficit conditions last year alone.

Gov. Snyder touted his tax reforms but was forced to acknowledge that the Personal Property Tax reform that he signed into law has no replacement funds in place, something that will hamstring many communities. He also failed to mention that he raised taxes on more than half of Michiganders, including taxing seniors’ pensions for the first time, so that he could pay for an enormous billion dollar tax break for corporations.

Democrats discuss the real impact of Republican tax increases on Michiganders, photo courtesy of the House Dems

The fact is, there is very little that Gov. Snyder and the Republicans have actually done to improve things in Michigan which is why we have the second highest unemployment rate in the country. Most of the main economic improvements can be attributed to investments made by the Granholm administration and Republican actions have done little but to slow down the rate of improvement, particularly relative to the rest of the country.

It’s not without significance that Gov. Snyder’s biggest applause line of the night was a call for a for a federal balanced budget amendment, something that (a) he has no control over, (b) has absolutely nothing to do with Michigan, and (c) would be devastating to our economy.

Finally, Gov. Snyder missed the mark widely on several topics that are critical to the state of Michigan, giving them scant mention and having no plan to offer. He barely mentioned our state’s environmental concerns or investing in clean/renewable energy. As Nic Clark, the state director for Michigan Clean Water Action put it, “The administration decided to pay lip service to the environmental community only addressing the topics for a matter of seconds. I could’ve written a more substantive tweet about the issue.”

On the topic of our crumbling roads and bridges, Gov. Snyder failed to mention that our state legislature has provided only a tiny fraction of the necessary funds needed to do necessary repairs. This will simply shift an ever-increasing financial burden onto future administrations since repair catastrophically decrepit roads is far more expensive than maintaining them in the first place. His lack of leadership on this has been profound.

Perhaps the most biting commentary about Gov. Snyder’s speech came from the Michigan Nurses Association. President John Armelagos held nothing back:

Gov. Snyder talking about a Michigan ‘comeback’ is like someone trying to sell you a pair of crutches after they’ve pushed you down the stairs – and doing it with a smile on his face. As the most trusted profession, trust is sacred to nurses and we are disgusted at having a governor who betrayed Michigan’s working families. Our patients will continue to suffer until Michigan has a governor who doesn’t make taking care of his wealthy friends his top priority.

Gov. Snyder failed to lay out a vision for the future that will take our state forward. The rest of the country is benefiting from the improved economic climate but Michigan continues to lag behind. In the past, our state has been the first to feel the impact of economic downturns but was also one of the first to recover. Today, that isn’t true. We continue to reel from the Bush Recession and the lack of progress can be directly linked to the poor leadership of Gov. Snyder and a Republican legislature more focuses on busting unions, attacking women’s reproductive freedoms, and on benefiting their corporate friends and benefactors.

That State of our State is not particularly good and we need to change our leadership in November. I’ll finish with Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer’s response to Gov. Sndyer’s speech:

What Michigan needs right now are good schools and good jobs to help strengthen the middle class and rebuild our economy. Instead, all we heard tonight was more ‘happy talk’ from a Governor who’s clearly out of touch. With the third worst unemployment rate in the country and Michigan ranked 49th in job growth, we need a Governor who understands that the key to a strong economy is a strong middle class. As Governor, I’ll invest in our highly-skilled workers and small businesses so that they can compete for the jobs of today, and invest in education so that our children can compete for the jobs of tomorrow.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]