DETROIT (WWJ) The voters have spoken and one of the things they said was “no” to the emergency manager law that has put outside financial oversight at the helm of communities including Detroit, Pontiac and Flint.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder called into WWJ live Wednesday morning to discuss the failure of all six Michigan ballot proposals — and what the re-election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, means for Michigan.
“I respect the voters and we’ll just move forward, the bigger part of the vote in my view was the constitutional proposals 2 through 6 being defeated,” Snyder said about Election Day results. “Those were the most critical issues because they could have been devastating and we’re on a great economic comeback, so I’m staying positive, relentless positive action, we’re going to just keep moving forward and keep on improving Michigan.”
He did admit, though, the failure of the emergency manager proposal, by a narrow margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, means changes are coming. Under the law, appointees of the governor have been authorized to hire and fire municipal employees, consolidate departments and modify or negate union contracts to stave off financial insolvency in troubled communities.
Without that authorization, what’s next for financially beleaguered communities like Detroit?
“That’s something we should have a discussion about through the legislative process,” Snyder said. “As a practical matter it does make it more difficult for the eight communities that are in emergency, we were on a very positive path, hopefully to start transitioning (them out of it.)
“This could delay or stall that and unfortunately it cause them to have bigger problems or issues. That’s something, we all want to see these communities succeed, we need to have a dialogue to say how can we make that happen now that our best tool is off the table.”
Carrying a small amount of marijuana on your person was legalized in Detroit Tuesday — so does the governor believe that’s the future path for the rest of the state?
“I don’t view that as the best way for the Michigan economy to come back,” Snyder said. “As a practical matter, I’m focusing on jobs and kids.”
He said there are more important issues than marijuana legalization like “helping people get a job.” He said training people for skilled trades positions is a more worthy goal than legalizing marijuana to improve the economy.
There is one vote on the statewide ballot initiatives Snyder liked — the failure of the Matty Moroun-sponsored proposal to require voter support of a public bridge. Sixty percent of voters cast “no” votes, though Moroun reportedly spent upwards of $30 million on the initiative in the hopes he could build his own second bridge to Canada.
When will construction of Michigan’s publicly-funded second span begin?
“The sooner the better, because it’s about jobs,” Snyder said. “I appreciate the vote last night, hopefully we can just keep pushing forward, the sooner the better because it’s 10,000 construction jobs for the project and tens of thousands of jobs over the long term. It’s just a big win for all of us.”
On the national front, Snyder said he supported Republican Mitt Romney, but can work with Obama.
“I thought Governor Romney would have been an outstanding choice,” the governor said, adding, “What I would say, though, is I respect the voters and I’m going to work hard to have a good relationship with the administration in Washington.”