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Local News / Politics

Thursday, 17 February, 2011 10:01 PM

Gov. Snyder offers a preview of upcoming cuts to Michigan's state budget

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A close-up of MIchigan Governor Rick Snyder inside the Olympia Club at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 14, 2011.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

DETROIT -- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has only been in office for six weeks. However, he was selected as the 2010 Crain's Newsmaker of the Year. The ceremony took place on Monday afternoon inside Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit. The ice was covered with carpet for this special event. Snyder addressed the media inside the Olympia Club before delivering his speech to everyone. The Michigan governor said everyone should be prepared to give a little in order to help the state move forward.

"We awarded this honor after the editors and reporters of Crain's Detroit Business did internal balloting," said Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain's Detroit Business. "Keith Crain and I reviewed the results. We're not PricewaterhouseCoopers, but we can say it was a unanimous decision that Governor Snyder was our Newsmaker of the Year."

The editors from Crain's Detroit Business selected Snyder because of his successful election and action-oriented plans. The new governor said he wants the state budget complete by July 1. In addition, he would like a new business tax system to start six months later.

"I've only been in office five, six weeks now," Snyder said. "I would describe it as dramatic reform. It will be dramatic reform on the tax side and the budget side. We have a tax code that was built for the past. It's got way too many challenges to it. It's not focused on job creation and it needs to change. It's going to focus on job creation and being simple, fair and efficient. We've got a budget system that really doesn't work. Line-item budgeting and short-term one year budgeting are not good answers. We're going to do it in a multi-year format. This year, we're going to present a second year planning budget for 2013."

I asked the new governor what he would do with Michigan's 42 percent tax incentive for the film industry.

"What I've said from day one when I was out there is I would want to have a dialog with the film industry," he responded. "I've been talking with some of those members about how that program can change in some fashion to be more efficient and to allow some of the people in Michigan to thrive and do well at the same time being more cost efficient. What I would also say in respect to tax incentives in general is we are looking at an all new approach to them. I'd create a tax incentive in the same way as an appropriation."

Another hot topic is the plan to build a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ont.

"The Canadian funds that's matching is we already have a letter to that effect that works," the Michigan governor explained. "We're in good shape in respect to using those matching funds. The only question left on that is until we get the project going and using those funds is we can't use them as matching funds. In terms of the theory, the approach, the Federal Highway Administration has given us a letter of that effect. We're working hard on the bridge project overall in terms of moving it forward. I think we're seeing some great support coming out from the auto industry and other people already talking about the need for the new crossing and how we can work together. I always view it as not just a bridge, it's about international trade. It's about supporting all of our crossings including the Ambassador Bridge. Let's trade environment for more international commerce in a positive way. It's win for everyone, I hope."

Snyder also talked about the future of funding for universities and community colleges.

"They are an important asset to our state," he said. "It's probably one of the hardest working groups we have right now because so many people are going back to community college or need those skill sets to get a position. It's important we fund our community colleges appropriately. In part of what bucket that comes out of, that will be part of Thursday. We have a general fund and a school aid fund. The school aid fund is to educate people. If it comes out of community college, it's an appropriate use of that fund."

Other newsmakers for 2010 included Larry Alexander, Chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority; Karen Davidson, Owner of the Detroit Pistons; Mike Duggan, CEO of the Detroit Medical Center; Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive; Dan Loepp, CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Manuel Moroun, Chairman of the Detroit International Bridge Co.; Anne Parsons, President of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Ora Pescovitz, CEO of the University of Michigan Health System; David Provost, CEO of First Michigan Bancorp Inc.

"The question that matters is what are we going to do to become a great state again?" Snyder asked. "That's the singular focus we need to bring to this. It is about reinventing Michigan. I don't fear Thursday. Thursday is just the next step. It is time for measurement, accountability, performance and results to be measured in our government. We need to take the dashboard concept for not just the state of Michigan, but for every jurisdiction in our state. There will be no net increase in taxes. It is time for tax reform. It is time for a whole new budget concept. It is time for shared sacrifice."

The Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings was named the 2010 Best-Managed Nonprofit Organization. Lawrence Technological University student Krysta Foster was named the 2011 Newsmaker Scholarship Winner.

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb was the 2009 Crain's Newsmaker of the Year. Snyder said he would like Bobb to stay on the job until the conclusion of the school year in June.

Related Story: Mayor Bing, DPS' Robert Bobb honored as Crain's Newsmakers of the Year

 

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Snyder chats with Mary Conway from WXYZ-TV Ch. 7.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Minutes later, he took questions from other members of the media.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Snyder responds to a question from AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The governor spoke about many topics including the film tax incentive, a second bridge crossing in Detroit, public schools, universities and many other topics.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)

 

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