Governor Rick Snyder gives final State of the State address
In his final State of the State address, Governor Rick Snyder promoted “fiscal responsibility,” and aggressive spending on certain projects.
Republicans in the House and Senate have been focused on cutting taxes for a while. But the governor says now is the time to spend in some areas, and save in others – and that doesn’t necessarily mean a tax cut.
“We have a broken culture in our political world where it’s okay to say, we can spend money or we can cut taxes and do that now for short term benefit and leave that bill for the kids that are beyond,” he said during the speech. “I don’t think that’s right either.”
Some members of his own party disagree. Speaker of the House Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) said the Legislature has been fiscally responsible, and, “It’s now time to allow the tax payers to appreciate that or see more money in their pockets.”
But Snyder also isn’t against more spending on certain issues. He wants to increase the money spent to repair the state’s roads. He also called for an increase in per student spending.
The governor presents his budget proposal next month. When he does, he plans to include the largest increase in per pupil spending in the last 15 years.
“That’s the money that districts can do innovative things with and they can make some changes in what they’re doing,” said State Superintendent, Brian Whiston. “And so it’s very exciting.”
“Let’s invest more in the operations of our schools,” the governor said during his speech, and Democrats agree.
“This governor has one more budget to fix some of the mistakes that he’s made and that we will work with him if he’s willing to put more money into the schools and that process,” said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing). “But we do have to see a change in the culture of Lansing and the Legislature.”
The governor also announced that Monday through Friday of next week, he will roll out a major initiative every day of the week. The project proposals will focus on the environment and infrastructure.
One will be a plan for recycling. Governor Snyder said his previous recycling initiative was one of his most disappointing during his time as governor.
“We got complacent, we thought we did the deposit law so we were doing great on recycling,” he said. “We’re behind. We’re half the national average on recycling.”
At least one initiative has even Democrats excited. That’s a plan to increase rural broadband internet access. Representative Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) is hopeful about this initiative.
“Rural broadband internet access is absolutely crucial,” she said. “You know I’ve been working for the last year to educate my Republican counterparts, to educate folks. So that needs to happen and it needs to be real and meaningful.”
On one of those days, the governor will announce a plan to fight invasive species in the Great Lakes – this initiative received roaring applause from the audience.
“If the federal government isn’t going to do it, or they’re not gonna do it, let’s get together as Michiganders and invest where we need to to protect the Great Lakes,” he said.