Reporting Matt Roush
MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder said other states are now sufficiently worried about losing new business to Michigan that they’re saying bad things about us.
He told a Mackinac Policy Conference crowd Thursday morning that site selection people used to tell him that in prior years, other states were so dismissive of Michigan that they’d say nothing about the state as a competitor for economic development projects.
Now, he said, the state has recovered enough that “they say bad things about us. I view that as real progress!”
Snyder pushed the business crowd to sign up for several initiatives — the Pure Michigan Business Connect program to buy more from Michigan suppliers, the Pure Michigan Talent Connect program to hire more from Michigan, and efforts to hire veterans, help the state’s public relations efforts, help distressed cities, and help educational institutions.
Snyder said his administration is “getting rid of six regulations for every regulation we add, while still meeting our fiduciary responsibilities.”
Snyder also called for a “huge wellness initiative” to combat obesity, and a major infrastructure campaign of $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year. Snyder said that when he talks new infrastructure spending, “everybody immediately thinks tax increase, because people have this warped view of government.” In reality that spending will save money in the long run, Snyder said.
In criminal justice, Snyder called for more “data driven justice” to target resources where they’re needed most, and that the state should add more drug courts and mental health courts to get people into treatment and counseling rather than prison.
And he said the state needs a comprehensive energy strategy that’s tied in to the state’s environmental policy.
In terms of education, Snyder urged Michigan to consider “career ready” as the most important standard, not necessarily “college ready,” adding that more skilled trades workers are badly needed around the state.
Finally, Snyder backed building a new bridge across the Detroit River downriver from the current Ambassador Bridge.