State of State Address Likely To Be a Pep Talk

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Teachers, state workers, business groups and others eager to hear what new Gov. Rick Snyder plans to do are waiting for the governor's first State of the State address.
The Republican governor will deliver an estimated 40-minute address at 7 p.m. Wednesday to a joint session of the House and Senate.
He's not expected to say Wednesday exactly where he plans to cut spending to deal with a shortfall of around $1.8 billion, because those details won't be announced until his budget proposal is ready in mid-February.
But the new Republican governor is likely to present his grading system for measuring progress toward goals such as improving residents' health, adding jobs and improving education. And he's likely to talk about the sacrifices he expects everyone to make as he works to "reinvent" Michigan.
He gave an inkling of what was to come in his Jan. 1 inaugural address, when he said, "Many have already made sacrifices. Many of us need to join those who have already contributed." He also noted that "the old unbelievable needs to become the new achievable."
Wednesday's 7 p.m. address to a joint session of the House and Senate in the House chamber will be Snyder's first chance to give state residents specifics on his administration's goals. The address is expected to be around 40 minutes long, shorter than State of the State addresses in recent decades.
Among the changes the governor may call for Wednesday is reduced compensation for public workers. Snyder has made it clear he wants to bring the salaries and benefits of teachers and state and local government workers more in line with the private sector. He also wants to get rid of tax exemptions that aren't working and reduce business taxes and regulation in an effort to add jobs.
He may talk about making sure more students are succeeding, insisting that third-graders be proficient readers and that all students score better on standardized tests. He also may discuss ways to make local governments lower their personnel costs and share more services. And he is likely to tell residents they must do their part by exercising, quitting smoking and following a healthier lifestyle.
The governor's office doesn't plan to hand out embargoed copies of the speech, as past governors have done, or provide copies of the speech one he's delivered it. Snyder is not expected to work off a formal text.
Michigan Manufacturers Association Vice President Michael Johnston said Tuesday that he hopes to hear more specifics about what Snyder intends to do to reduce business taxes. He isn't sure about the governor's plan to replace the Michigan Business Tax with a 6 percent corporate income tax on major corporations. MMA has 2,500 members, from large corporations down to sole proprietorships, which could be treated differently under Snyder's plan.
"I need to understand what he means by that," Johnston said.
Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said he's eager for Snyder to flesh out his proposals.
"We're looking for details of what he intends to do to balance the Michigan budget and create jobs," Brewer said. "If he stands by his three principals of bipartisanship, shared sacrifice and leaving no one behind, we will work with him."
The Michigan Education Association also is willing to work with Snyder to improve education. Leaders of the state's largest teachers union said Tuesday that they want to eliminate some tax exemptions that don't produce jobs and reduce the amount of remedial coursework college students must take because their high school classes didn't adequately prepare them.
The Michigan AFL-CIO said the governor needs to talk about how he's going to add jobs, a topic that's expected to be a major part of the speech.
The former venture capitalist and Gateway computer executive already has brought a different tone and operating style to the Capitol. Snyder declined to move into the official governor's residence in Lansing, remaining instead in his spacious home just outside Ann Arbor. Although Republicans control the House and Senate, he has called for more bipartisanship.
Snyder is continuing the tradition of holding a reception after the State of the State address for cabinet members, Supreme Court justices and invited guests at the Lansing governor's residence.

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  • by Shell Location: Grass Lake on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:20 AM
    We had eight long years of pep-talks from Granholm, and look where THAT got us. Gov. Snyder, what Michigan needs is a good dose of up-front, honest medicine with no sugar coating. We know where we stand is grim, but we need to hear the bad news and some solid steps to fix the problems so the economic long-term healing can start. We're long past due!
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