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Many lawmakers, community members not impressed by Snyder’s address (Oakland Press)

Published January 18, 2012 by the Oakland Press.

By Tim Martin of the Associated Press.

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Published: 01.19.12| Updated: 01.19.12

LANSING (AP) — Some of Gov. Rick Snyder’s top priorities for 2012 likely won’t have smooth sailing in the Michigan Legislature.

Lawmakers expressed mixed reactions Wednesday to the Republican governor’s second State of the State address.

Snyder has allies in the Republican-led Legislature, but some of his proposals won’t be easy to pass if they call for increased revenue. That includes one to increase road funding.

Republican lawmakers haven’t embraced Snyder’s plan for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Legislation to let Michigan get involved in a proposed bridge project died in a Senate committee last year.

Democrats say they’re upset that Snyder failed to mention the possibility of using a budget surplus from last fiscal year to restore some recent cuts to public education.

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David Holtz, Executive Director, Progress Michigan:

“This was a boring billboard-like speech that must have been put on a substance diet by Gov. Snyder.  Lots of disconnected signs along the way from start to finish that fell far short of leaving people with a feeling Michigan is on the right track.   If leadership is part inspiration and part perspiration, this State of the State didn’t break a sweat.”

 

David Hecker, President, AFT-Michigan, responding to Gov. Snyder's comments regarding education:  “We agree with Governor Snyder that ‘our children are our future’ but we must ask why the state undercut their future by reducing K-12 funding by $400 per student and cutting higher education funding by 15 percent. While the Governor claims lifting of the charter cap will increase the quality of education, we wonder how, as the legislature refused to include quality requirements in the law. This year, we hope to work with the Governor in taking action that will truly enhance education for every student in all school districts, colleges and universities. Among other actions, funding must be restored and the surplus spent, infrastructure must be enhanced, the teaching profession must be respected and not undercut, and financial aid for higher education must be reinstated. Regarding additional points the Governor made, we appreciate his acknowledgement that collective bargaining works and his support for the New International Trade Crossing, which will create thousands of jobs.”

 

Steven Cook, President, Michigan Education Association, responding to Gov. Snyder's comments regarding education: “A lot was said about financial emergencies, failing schools and the need to prepare students for college and beyond. But not once did the governor make the common sense link between those things and the $1 billion cut to public education. When you slash schools to pay for a $1.8 billion tax cut for corporate special interests, you’re putting CEOs ahead of our kids, and that’s just plain wrong. Michigan can’t afford to dig the hole any deeper for our schools and communities. Eliminating the Personal Property Tax would do just that – taking another $1.2 billion away from education and public safety and handing it over to corporate special interests. Doing that once last year was wrong – doing it again this year would be unforgivable and destructive.”

 

John Philo, Legal Director, Sugar Law Center for Social and Economic Justice:

“The Governor stated tonight that Michigan is just like a family.  We'd like to ask the Governor just what family blames mom when she becomes ill and then refuses her any input regarding the treatment and care that she will receive?  However, that is what the emergency manager law does to our fellow Michiganders.  For folks who happen to live in cities hit hardest by the  global financial crisis, the law blames them for the economic downturn in their community and then takes away any  voice in local government regarding their community’s recovery.   Members of Michigan’s family deserve better.”

 

Gilda Jacobs, President and CEO, Michigan League for Human Services, in response to the Governor's address: "We're glad the governor called for a safety net for those most in need. What that suggests is the need to go back and look at the policies that actually harmed those most in need."

 

Meghan Groen, Director of Government Relations, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan: “With the unemployment rate persisting in double digits, increasing numbers of laid-off workers are uninsured. That leaves many Michigan families one unintended pregnancy away from economic disaster. We hoped that the Governor would have taken this important opportunity to address the critical lack of access to women’s health care services. Instead, this administration has endorsed policies that would result in tens of thousands of uninsured women being cut-off from something as basic as affordable birth control. Not only does this ignore the essential health care needs of Michigan’s women and their families, it makes poor fiscal policy. More than half of all pregnancies are unintended in Michigan, and 62 percent of the resulting births 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 restore pregnancy prevention funding. It’s good for women, it’s good for families, it’s good for taxpayers and it’s good for Michigan.” [emphasis added by PPMSM]

 

Statement from Todd Cook, State Director, We Are the People : “Snyder’s speech was heavy on happy talk and light on specifics about how we can put people back to work. It’s clear the governor wants to give even more handouts to big corporations that outsource jobs at the expense of our kids, seniors and working families. To get our economy moving again, we need our elected leaders to stop the partisan games and start working together to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the top one-percent.”

 

 Melanie McElroy, Executive Director of Common Cause Michigan  in response to Gov. Snyder’s remarks on Good Government:  “Ethics Dashboard on the horizon? Governor Snyder briefly addressed the pay-to-play politics which continue to threaten the democratic process in Michigan.  Let's hold the revolving door between our state employees and the private sector, and increase transparency in campaign finance and lobbying, so that lawmakers and their staff may be fully committed to their constituents. ‘Good Government’ starts with accountability to the voter.”

 

Michael Gregor, Communications Director, Equality Michigan, in response to the Governor's address: “Equality Michigan is disturbed by how willing the Governor has been to put gay and transgender people in harm’s way. The ‘business experience and economic growth’ platform that he ran on has turned out disastrous for our families. He told us that he would ‘rebuild Michigan’s image’ and work to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Instead, he has surrendered to right-wing special interest money and made it even more difficult for gay and transgender residents to build prosperous lives here. The Governor’s recent ban on health care coverage for domestic partners is a blatant attack on gay families across Michigan. By signing the ban, Governor Snyder said that some families should be able to care for their loved ones while others shouldn’t.”

 

Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director, Clean Water Action, responding to Gov. Snyder's comments regarding the environment: "Governor Snyder’s State of the State address was short on substance, especially when it came to how we keep our “Pure Michigan”.  We are currently spending more on marketing Pure Michigan than on protecting it. The people of the Great Lakes State need more than lipservice - they need action.  So-called “good government “ measures referenced by the Governor are actually slamming doors on public input and reducing the ability to participate in their government.  This is the wrong direction for Michigan and for the future of our water treasures."

 

Mike Berkowitz, Michigan Chapter Organizer, Sierra Club, in response to Gov. Snyder’s announcement of a special message on energy and the environment in the fall: “I’m blown away that Governor Snyder refuses to address energy issues until the fall. While he is working on losing weight and removing regulations on barbershops, the clean energy industry is being put on hold. Michigan’s economy is being held back because our Governor continues to sit on his hands instead of being a leader.”

 

John Freeman, Director, Know Your Care/Protect Your Care-Michigan

"It is very important that Gov. Snyder provides strong leadership to make it a top priority for the Legislature to enact legislation to establish the Health Care Exchange in Michigan. Revitalizing Michigan's economy is in large part dependent upon reducing the cost of health insurance for individuals and business. The establishment of the Health Care Exchange will create a more competitive market for health insurance which will drive down the cost and therefore help generate new economic growth and create jobs".

 

Christine Barry, Blogging for Michigan

"Governor Snyder talked at great length about Michigan residents coming together and working toward a better future.  Despite this, he never spoke to the LGBT families who were harmed by his recent legislation which stripped domestic partners of health benefits.  It is unfortunate that a Governor who speaks so much about compassion and inclusion would deliberately harm and exclude a large segment of Michigan families."

 

Chris Savage Owner, Eclectablog.com & Contributor at Blogging for Michigan

“Governor Snyder's speech tonight was a mile wide and an inch deep. With no real new initiatives, the Governor told us they had started the job in 2011 and in 2012, it's time to finish it. This is exactly what many Michiganders are afraid of. More attacks on union members. More attacks on public employees. More attacks on teachers. More Emergency Managers denying our citizens their right to democratically-elected representation in their local government. More of this is a recipe for disaster for our state.

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