Jan 20, 2011
DRIC bridge is the highlight of a SOS filled with vague generalities
We waited a year for this?
New Michigan Gov. Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder has been very vague on how he plans to reinvent Michigan since he launched his campaign last year with an expensive Superbowl ad, and people were hoping they would finally hear some actual details when he gave his first State of the State address Wednesday night. Instead, we got very few details and a very general plan that included more corporate buzz words like “dashboards,” “road maps” and “gardening.”
The speech was so general that lawmakers from his own party were wondering and wanting more specifics. Still, it was nice to hear he appears to be a moderate Republican instead of the nasty extremists who hijacked the party, and there may be some common ground to keep the recovery moving in Michigan. There were some great things in the speech, and the most hearting was his support for entering into a public-private partnership with Canada to build the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge. That move drew praise from both sides of the aisle.
“This is the right move for Michigan," said Republican Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson. “If we all don't stand together behind the DRIC project now, we will all be standing in Buffalo in a few years watching them cut a ribbon on their new bridge to Canada."
The bridge will bring more than 10,000 new jobs to the state. The only cloud on the horizon is that every single Republicans voted to kill it last session, and a camera shot of the crowd when Snyder spoke about DRIC showed the right aside of the House chamber sitting on their hands while Democrats stood and cheered. That could mean a major campaign funding source for state Republicans could be lost in the form of Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun.
More disturbing was in lack of detail on how he plans to close the estimated $1 billon General Fund budget deficit. Senate Republicans are floating a plan to close it on the backs of state workers, but we have heard nothing from Snyder. Even more disturbing was his plan to kill the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) and replace it with a flat 6 percent corporate tax. That will increase the deficit to $3 billon.
Also unsettling for consumers was the proposal to gut Michigan’s item pricing law. Retailers would no longer have to place the price of the item on each individual item. That will require consumers to place their trust in the scanner at the retail outlet and cost consumers millions of dollars.
It will be an interesting year in Lansing.