LANSING, Mich. — Governor Rick Snyder made the annual “State of the State” address Thursday at the state capitol building in Lansing.
Snyder touched on a variety of divisive issues, including education, immigration and the economy.
“We need to encourage legal immigration in our state,” he said. “That’s how we made our country great.”
Snyder also touched on education, emphasizing that K-12 funding has increased by $660 per pupil over the last three years.
Opponents from the Michigan branch of the American Federation for Teachers (AFT) say that Snyder’s rhetoric doesn’t make up for the funding cuts some schools have faced during his time in office.
“If Snyder truly believes that education is a priority, then he would find a way to undo his debilitating funding cuts to schools that were used to pay for a tax giveaway to big businesses and he would use the budget surplus to properly fund every level of education in Michigan,” said Michigan AFT President David Hecker in a release.
Below are other reactions to the governor’s speech.
What did you think of the “State of the State” address?
Agricultural Leaders of Michigan
The Agricultural Leaders of Michigan applauded Governor Rick Snyder for his focus on improving Michigan’s roads and infrastructure in his “State of the State” address tonight.
During tonight’s speech, Gov. Snyder renewed his call to repair and maintain Michigan’s aging roads and reiterated his support for strengthening Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.
Gov. Snyder highlighted the strength and success of Michigan’s agriculture industry which grew from a $91 billion industry in 2010 to a $96 billion industry in 2013 and is on track to reach $100 billion. According to Gov. Snyder, agriculture exports are up by 16 percent.
While the Governor included numerous economic items on his agenda, he failed to mention the need to address workplace discrimination in Michigan. It remains legal to fire a worker simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights released a report in January 2013 outling the negative economic impact of allowing discrimination against LGBT workers to continue.
Equality Michigan, the statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization serving Michigan’s LGBT and HIV communities, maintains full-time lobbying efforts in Lansing. The organization is currently working with legislators to advance laws prohibiting workplace discrimination, provide equal rights to LGBT families, increase support for HIV education, and reverse Michigan’s ban on gay marriages.
Business Leaders for Michigan
“Business Leaders for Michigan is pleased that Governor Snyder continues to focus on many of the priorities needed to continue Michigan’s turnaround,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan. “Our policy priorities for 2014 are continued sound fiscal management, fixing our roads, making college more affordable and accelerating job growth.
“We applaud the Governor’s effort to make Michigan even more welcoming to immigrants. Attracting immigrants with advanced academic degrees or entrepreneurial aspirations will help the state attract investment and create jobs. Another critical step forward is reducing Michigan’s unemployment rate by giving more children the opportunity to get a community college or university degree. To do that, we need to increase access and make college more affordable. We’re hopeful the Governor will recommend enough in his budget to stem the tide of rising tuition and look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature to make Michigan a “top ten” state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy.”
American Federation of Teachers- Michigan
“Tonight, Governor Rick Snyder disappointed every person across Michigan who values public education. Unfortunately for Michigan schools, his rhetoric doesn’t pay the bills. He failed to address how he was going to reverse the devastating funding cuts to neighborhood schools and public colleges and universities,” said president David Hecker.
“If Snyder truly believes that education is a priority, then he would find a way to undo his debilitating funding cuts to schools that were used to pay for a tax giveaway to big businesses and he would use the budget surplus to properly fund every level of education in Michigan.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan
“Healthy women and families nurture stronger communities and are the key to revitalizing Michigan’s economy and the future well-being of our state,” said director of government relations Meghan Groen.
“Yet, Michigan ranks in the bottom half of the states on key measures of maternal and infant health. We hoped that the Governor would have taken this important opportunity to address the critical lack of access to women’s health care services – one quarter of Michigan counties to not have a practicing OB/GYN. What’s more, over half of all pregnancies are unintended in Michigan and cost taxpayers $282 million annually. At the same time, every dollar invested in family planning saves the state $6.37 in Medicaid costs in the first year alone. We urge the governor to invest in prevention policies that increase access to affordable health care services. It’s good for women, it’s good for families, it’s good for taxpayers and it’s good for Michigan.”
Rep. Rick Outman – (R) Six Lakes
“I applaud the governor for his continued emphasis on improving our roads and bridges. Improving the transportation system continues to be one of my priorities, and I support the governor’s efforts to make our roads safe for families and businesses.”
“The Legislature set aside $350 million in this fiscal year to dedicate to road improvement without increasing taxes, and I support that type of responsible budgeting in the future. We have roads in Montcalm and Gratiot counties that are reverting back to gravel roads and need serious attention. By funding road improvement projects, we will create jobs and improve the quality of life. Michigan is the comeback state, and improving our transportation system is one way we can keep that resurgence going.”
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer
“Governor Snyder’s track record from his State of the State speeches is one of broken promises and unfulfilled plans. We only need to look back to his first address to the state in which he said ‘job one is jobs,’ yet three years later, Michigan has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation. Meanwhile, he’s slashed unemployment benefits and made it harder for countless Michiganders to get back to work,”
“I was hoping to hear the Governor talk tonight about the real reinvestments in our families and our schools that are needed to get Michigan back on track, but instead it was simply more of the same.”