DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday kicked off a two-day meeting with business, academic and government leaders to develop new ways to boost job growth and connect Michigan residents to jobs.
The Republican governor is on Detroit for the opening session of an economic summit at Cobo Center. Planned to speak at the event are Business Leaders for Michigan President and Chief Executive Doug Rothwell and Michigan Economic Development Corp. chief Michael Finney.
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Snyder has said the event aims to challenge leaders “to focus on new ways of providing meaningful job opportunities.”
As the meeting got underway inside Cobo — protesters marched outside.
Chuck Tindall, with “We Are Michigan,” said his group is upset about Snyder’s policies.
“Number one being that he’s anti-union, but also that my pension is being taxed,” Tindall told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Vickie Thomas. “I had retired early because of the bad economy, and having my pension taxed was not in my long-range plan at that time.”
Tindall said he’s considering moving to a state that’s more tax-friendly toward his pension.
Angela Dusette carried a sign that read: “Don’t hurt working families.”
“Unions have made Detroit strong, and if they take that away from us we won’t have anything,” said Dusette. “Snyder said he wasn’t going to go this [pass right-to-work], and then he got into office and did this to us — and it’s just wrong. It’s just not right for Michigan. We’re trying to rebuild and it’s not going to help us rebuild.”
Protesters say Snyder put corporate interests above those of ordinary residents by cutting education funding, taxing pensions and shepherding through right-to-work legislation limiting unions’ power.
WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke Sunday with Rothwell, who said the summit will focus on solutions to the state’s growing talent needs.