In this year’s State of the State address, the Governor offered a lot less than he did last year in terms of smart, forward-thinking policies. My guess – this is probably a result of his failure to enact such proposals. A lot of the positives he took credit for, like the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and the comeback of the auto industry, were the result of President Obama’s policies, not his.
Important proposals from last year’s address, such as universal access to preventative healthcare; prenatal through higher education support for Michigan’s students; and approval of the New International Trade Crossing all went unfulfilled in 2011. While he touched on some of them again this year, he failed to mention what he’ll do to ensure we see these changes this time around.
The items he highlighted as successes, like obliterating limits on charter schools and individual tax policies, were failures in my book. And the things he could have done on behalf of Michigan’s citizens, he either refused or could not do. Again, this year’s speech contained several positives, but the question remains if Gov. Snyder will be too constrained by his Republican counterparts in the Legislature.
The Governor reiterated his support for PA 4, the atrocious Emergency Manager law, claiming it is needed to help communities solve their own problems when, in fact, we know the opposite is true. He said he will focus on strengthening public safety, but his budget cuts to revenue sharing that municipalities rely on to provide those services flies in the face of funding police and fire protection. And he spoke about establishing a strong social safety net, amazingly ignoring the fact that his Republican colleagues passed – and he signed – the bills that dismantled support systems for Michiganders struggling in this economy, which include: elimination of the state earned income tax credit, drastic reductions in unemployment insurance, unrealistic parameters for obtaining worker’s compensation and much more.
The Gerber partnership on childhood obesity, creation of a regional transit authority and the establishment of a healthcare exchange, as prescribed by President Obama’s signature healthcare reform legislation, were three promising points in the speech.
I fully support keeping our children healthy. I have championed regional transit for four years in the Legislature and am glad to partner with Gov. Snyder on this economic development issue. And I couldn’t be happier to know that he is on board with President Obama’s healthcare reform initiative. I look forward to working with the Governor this year in passing the parts of his agenda that would help people, not his party’s wealthy benefactors. On the policies that I believe will harm the people of Michigan, I will continue to be a strong and vocal opposition leader.