on the Michigan State of the State Address 2006
Delivered the evening of Wednesday January 25, 2006 to the Michigan Legislature and the citizens of the state of Michigan. The speech was televised (of course). The title of the speech is “Working Our Plan, Securing Our Future”. The state’s official record is here. My commentary inserted within the proper contents of the text will be in red letters. Afterwards the text will shift back to normal as I summarize. The speech is not reprinted here in its entirety; I have excerpted what I thought was appropriate.
State of the State addresses are traditionally formal affairs where the Governor talks policy with the Legislature. People with titles and expensive suits pack this ornate hall. With utmost respect to you, I ask your indulgence as I speak more directly tonight to our employers – the people of Michigan. I want to talk to the father who has worked for 30 years at a manufacturing plant who just got notice that his job as a welder has been outsourced to China. I want to talk to the waitress who dreams of sending her only daughter to college but worries that she’ll never be able to save enough to afford the tuition. I want to talk to the woman behind the counter at the dry cleaners where you picked up your suit to wear tonight, the woman who’s sick but who can’t afford to see her doctor. I want to talk to the worker at Delphi, at GM, at Chrysler, and at Ford. And I want to talk to the worker at the Ford Wixom plant. Tonight, I want to talk to the everyday people of Michigan, the people who built Michigan’s schools and churches, its little leagues and Kiwanis Clubs. The people who power its economy and who only expect for themselves a fair opportunity to build a good life for their families. I want to talk to those who are fearful, and to those who are hopeful, and to many of you who are both.
I actually didn’t get to hear any of this before that one sentence about “Fair opportunities”. All of that stuff is just pandering to emotional contents and contains nothing especially helpful to any cause except for getting politicians (re-)elected.
Wherever we live in Michigan, we know that as our auto industry struggles in this global economy, our people feel that pain more than in any other state in the country.
It’s been that way for awhile. There has been plenty of time for the industrialists and the Governor to take proper steps against that pain. Michigan’s government has not been overly friendly to Michigan’s businesses.
Michigan, I am here to tell you: We have a detailed and comprehensive plan to grow this economy. We are working that plan. And everything in that plan will secure the opportunity for a good life for you and your family. In Michigan. Some will say, “How can you talk about a good life in Michigan when for over six years we have been losing manufacturing jobs – like the ones that Ford just announced?” Here’s the answer: I will not stop working our plan until we create a Michigan where every one of you, from the autoworker to the homemaker to the nurse, has the opportunity to build that good life.
It’s not up to the government to provide such opportunities to people and it’s dangerous for us to rely on the bureaucracy to comfort us or to provide for us; it’s damaging to teach people to rely on the State in such a way.
The foundation of a good life, of course, is a good-paying job.
But we know there are other critical building blocks. You need health care for your family. You need a quality education for your children – and, today, that means an affordable college education. And you need a government that fights for you, to protect your family, your home, your community.
We need people to fight for themselves, and a charity instilled in us that we may help our fellow man.
Many fear that good life is slipping away in Michigan as our economy faces unprecedented challenge. Tonight, I want you to know that our plan will meet that challenge because it, too, is unprecedented, both in detail and in scope.
When the government is unprecedented in scope it means that it is difficult for it to function, and it is also an expensive machine to maintain, requiring more money taken from citizens.
We have been working this plan. We have been consistent, disciplined and unwavering in executing it. And it’s already bearing fruit. Our efforts have created and retained 327,000 jobs that otherwise would have gone to some other state or – more likely – some other country.
That’s not very many jobs. It is not much of a comfort to the people losing their jobs in March; I wonder if the products made will be more or less expensive because they were created here rather than a far-off land?
You hear all the time the bad news, so let me give you a couple of examples of our main successes in bringing jobs here: J&L Industrial Supply… Advanced Photonix… Ohio-based Cobra Motorcycles… Greg Boll, CEO of Cummins Bridgeway… moved factory jobs back to Michigan from Mexico because of the quality of Michigan’s workforce – with support from us, he chose to bring jobs home… International companies are creating jobs in Michigan at a remarkable pace. In the past three years, German and Japanese companies created more than 10,000 jobs and invested $1.7 billion in Michigan… Our domestic automakers, despite their own challenges, have invested over $9 billion in their Michigan facilities in the past three years. Because of our sustained efforts to keep and attract automotive research and development companies, Michigan has more employees and investments in that growing part of our economy than all of the other 49 states, plus Canada, plus Mexico combined. In the 12 months since I spoke here last, more than 1,600 new small businesses opened their doors in Michigan. In fact, in 2005 we were named one of the friendliest states in America for small businesses. There are 99,000 more people working right now than when I first took office. And we are creating 30,000 jobs by accelerating nearly $3 billion in infrastructure projects across the state. Rather than waiting 10 years to get the work done, we’ll finish it in the next three. Soon, everyone will live within 30 minutes of an infrastructure project – from roads and bridges, to sewers, to upgraded nursing homes, to environmental cleanup sites. If you are unemployed or need training to become employed, thanks to our MI Opportunity Partnership, we’re more successful than ever at training and placing unemployed people in good paying jobs that exist today in Michigan… We are on track to place 30,000 unemployed people in jobs in the first year of the program. We will place 40,000 more in year two. We have focused an entire department of state government on giving workers the skills they need to take new jobs. So, you say, I see that you are training and placing thousands of people in jobs, and that you have attracted thousands of jobs to Michigan. But, you ask, what are you going to do to keep the jobs we have, and to make Michigan less reliant on the auto industry?
I say that despite those impressive-sounding numbers the auto industry is still closing doors in plants in Lansing and Detroit. Our unemployment rate is still highest in the country. This growth is slow and there are few promises that quality employment will be present here. I advocate leaving the state if you want a quality job market. I am not kidding.
Here’s the answer: Michigan has the most aggressive economic plan of any state in the country. It is a bold $6 billion plan to grow jobs today and jobs tomorrow. Two of the most powerful pieces of this economic plan were just approved by this Legislature in the last two months. First, a bipartisan $600 million tax-cut package that will fight the outsourcing of our existing jobs and encourage the insourcing of new ones.
First tax cut I’ve heard of in years of listening to State of the State speeches.
And second, the 21st Century Jobs Fund, the product of almost unanimous bipartisan agreement – the largest investment in diversifying our economy this state has ever seen… We’ll invest more than $2 billion in public and private funds to develop new sectors of our economy… In a few months, we will begin making prudent investments in the diverse companies that will grow jobs in Michigan.
There will be a tax cut of $600,000,000 and an expenditure of $2,000,000,000 in pork. Taxes are money taken from citizens; this Jobs Fund takes some of that money and gives it to other citizens. A lot of money will be given back that never should have been taken in the first place or a lot less money will be taken that should not have been taken the previous years. The Fund is just insane.
And by this time next year, we’ll see new businesses doing just that. In five years, you’re going to be blown away by the strength and diversity of Michigan’s transformed economy.
The governor has promised that by the time that I am thirty the state’s economy will be healthy. I cannot afford to wait that long.
Let me touch on one of those groundbreaking areas of job growth that we’re targeting – alternative energy. This is a big deal – and a huge opportunity for Michigan. Innovators across the country are developing new ways to power our refrigerators, heat our homes, and fuel our cars. Power plants and engines fueled not only by coal or oil, but by, for example, hydrogen, the sun or the wind, or waste from landfills or farms. The Great Lakes State will be the alternative energy epicenter of America. Since we are the home of the automobile, it is our proud, patriotic duty to be the state that ends our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Our universities are already leaping into the alternative energy field. At Michigan State University, President Lou Anna Simon is positioning our state (and her Spartans) to lead the world in the new “bio-economy” – developing energy and other products from our agricultural sector. Kettering University in Flint, MAREC in Muskegon, and Next Energy at Wayne State all are leading in the development of alternative energies. If you went to the auto show, and I hope you did, you might have seen the national championship solar car developed by University of Michigan students; it tops out at 80 mph. We will use our 21st Century Jobs Fund to grow businesses here that put Michigan on the path to alternative energy leadership. And in the months ahead, we will form a statewide partnership among all of the alternative energy research and development institutions in Michigan, and we will dramatically increase the demand in our state for alternative sources of energy to bring those kinds of businesses to Michigan.
She pulled out a visual aide: a hydrogen cell for automotive vehicles. I have watched Nova Science Now. These environmentally-friendly fuel cells sound like a good idea for the far future but they are not feasible for mass production. If nothing else the fuel is difficult to isolate, gather, store, and then distribute. Her theoretical state economy is based on an industry that doesn’t yet exist and is based on a theoretical technology that doesn’t quite work. The state will invest tax-dollars into that. In another post I’ll quote experts on why her alternative fuel project is not a viable concern for our state.
In addition to bringing jobs home, I’ll continue my fight to keep the jobs we have right here in Michigan. On this point, let me be very clear: We will grow new segments of our Michigan economy. But we will not concede the automotive industry to any other state or nation. We are the state that put America on wheels – the state that put the “car” in NASCAR. There is no vision for Michigan’s new economy that does not include cars designed, engineered, and made in Michigan. The industry’s changing – but we in Michigan cannot – will not – abandon it. And we should not allow our government in Washington to abandon it either. Believe me, Michigan will continue to do everything in its power to support our manufacturing sector. We know state government has a role to play. But as manufacturing CEOs have repeatedly told me: No state can fix this problem alone. No state can adopt or enforce trade agreements. No state can impact the nation’s laws on pensions. The leadership in Washington must be our partner in responding to the crushing challenges of a global economy. A partner. Not a bystander. Our bipartisan Congressional delegation agrees. We all owe thanks for the leadership of our Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Deans of the House, Congressmen John Dingell and Fred Upton, who are fighting for a federal partnership to help our manufacturing sector. I’ll continue to call on our President to craft a uniquely American solution to health care and pension reforms to make our nation’s manufacturers competitive with other countries. I’ve called on the administration in Washington to enact fair trade policies, not trade policies that help other countries grow jobs while ours are outsourced. Michigan workers make the best products in the world. We’re not afraid of trade. I say “bring it on.” But it must be fair trade. Fair to our businesses. Fair to our workers. Fair to our country.
We’re calling on the federal government to help prop us up after our screw-ups. Just great.
I’m proud that we’ve resolved $4 billion in budget deficits without a general tax increase. and proud that I’ve signed 51 tax-cuts into law, both for individuals and to help businesses create jobs, without leaving gaping holes in our budget. I’ve also made it clear that I will not support business tax breaks that would shift the burden to everyday citizens or force cuts to education and health care. The main reason we’ve been able to do more with less in state government is because our state workers are, without a doubt, second to none. Please join me in honoring and thanking these incredibly dedicated public servants.
I feel free to make the argument that the reason major industrial companies are leaving this state is because the state’s tax policies and general policies regarding those businesses are not friendly to those businesses; I would also blame specific union policies for forcing fiscal concessions that the companies perhaps were not be able to afford long term.
let me pause on our largest city. For the past two weeks, Detroit has showcased the world’s premiere auto show. It was on TV across the nation. It was a reflection of Michigan. And next week, the Super Bowl spotlight will shine on the Motor City. It will be on TV around the world. It will be a reflection of Michigan. Mayor Kilpatrick, welcome. The entire state needs and wants Detroit to be successful. We all have to work together to see it happen. So, to those who practice the politics of division, who would drive a wedge between the city and the state, let me say this: The only thing that should come between Detroit and Michigan is a comma. Period.
I would be happy to put a comma period in between Detroit and Michigan. I would be happy to put a period between the two. I was happy to laugh at this weird and trite bit of language woes from our governor’s mouth.
First of all, Detroit has an absolutely horrible reality involved with its homeless situation and crime rate. Kwame Kilpatrick is not whom I would summon as a representative of my state. Secondly, this year’s auto show was the smallest and worst attended in some time. Third I know Detroit has a new and temporary project running the weekend of the Super Bowl and while I won’t go into the details the thrust of it involves hiding the homeless people and thus the homeless problem from the tourists and outsiders. I’m so proud.
Let me turn to two other issues related to our economic growth. Making health care more affordable and accessible, and ensuring that our children have the education to succeed in this new economy.
Our first step is a quantum leap: We will provide access to quality, affordable health care for 550,000 people. We’ll create a new insurance product in this state: the Michigan First Health Care Plan. The concept is simple: Give families who otherwise could not afford health insurance access to a basic, low-cost health care plan through a private insurance company. We will offer this plan through a new financial partnership with the federal government.
It’s a state-sponsored healthcare plan. The State of Michigan is already in debt; the federal government is already in debt. Large-scale government-shaped health care plans have not been successful in this country.
In Michigan, we’ll help our health care industry stop depending on your memory and their paper records as databanks. We are going to use technology to vastly improve the system. In the future, you will be able to give your pharmacist, your doctor, or the emergency room immediate access to your information, but you will control who sees it and what it is used for.
I have a strange feeling that this still involves more people knowing my medical data than I desire.
If we are truly serious about improving both the cost and quality of health care in this state, we must tap the full power of modern science to combat life-threatening illnesses. Imagine having to watch your child suffer with juvenile diabetes. Imagine watching your wife lose her ability to speak, and walk, and even eat, as her Parkinson’s worsens. Stem cell research holds the promise for finding cures and for improving the lives of thousands of people. Talented researchers and businesses around the world are working right now on those cures…but we can’t recruit them to Michigan to do their work because of the limits Michigan law puts on them. When human lives are at stake, we should lead the nation in this work, not put obstacles in our own path. Tonight, I am asking you, our Legislature, to join with me in supporting this search for cures. Pass Representative Meisner’s bill to remove the limits on stem cell research in Michigan, and do it now.
To summarize: the Governor wants the GOP to either legalize her stem cell medical ideology or look like the people who don’t want to cure Parkinson’s. It’s a cheap emotional ploy to demonize the right-wing. Charming.
Our new Merit Award Scholarship will create a Michigan Promise right now. when it comes to education, we will have one overarching goal: to become the best-educated workforce in the nation. To do that, we will give our children the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and in the 21st century economy… First, we must make sure that every parent who’s watching tonight can afford to send their children to college. To achieve our goal of a workforce that’s second to none, we must be first when it comes to giving citizens access to higher education… A promise that every child in Michigan will – for the first time in this state’s history – have the financial means to go to college.
To summarize, she will take a state that is already in debt and is promising to provide education to everyone who wants it; there’s no real information on how this can be afforded by our ailing state. To analyze and synthesize, the more people that hold a bachelor’s degree the less that that degree is worth. When everyone has a four-year degree from a University or College then that sort of credit has as much worth as a high school degree.
We’ll also work to make sure that your children are safe in their schools. No child in Michigan should have to be the victim of a schoolyard bully, and no child should have their learning disrupted by a child who’s unruly. That’s why, tonight, I am urging this Legislature to require every school district in Michigan to have tough and effective anti-bullying policies.
That’s right; Jennifer Granholm wants the legislature to outlaw schoolyard bullying Your tax dollars at work.
this good life we work so hard to create is worth protecting. There are those who believe we should simply let people fend for themselves in a tough world and let the chips fall where they may. I’m not one of them.
Tonight, let me share some of the work we’ll do to protect you, your family, and your financial security. First, let us increase the minimum wage in Michigan. You who are working in minimum wage jobs have not had a raise for nine years. Even the Legislature got a raise since then.
The Legislature voted for that raise. Can everyone else? Wait. No; that’s the way the world works.
I pledge to you this evening, those workers will get that increase this year.
A state requirement that every business pay their employees more essentially means that businesses can afford to pay less employees just to maintain their own budgets and thus remain in business. This will cause less employment and won’t do much to help the local value of our currency. By equating a growing amount of money to a job which has non-increasing value or non-increasing difficulty is in fact diminishing or decreasing the value of each unit of that money. I will also mention that less employment means less income tax going into state governmental coffers.
If this Legislature is not willing to raise the minimum wage in our state, the voters of Michigan will.
If they’re greedy, short-sighted idiots, yes.
Second, we’ll make it more affordable for you to pay your heating bills. We have set aside money for emergency assistance for those struggling to pay their bills this season.
Perhaps if you cannot afford pay for heat in this state you should move some place warmer!
Third, I ask the Legislature to pass measures that will demand high standards of corporate responsibility from any business that seeks a state grant, a tax credit, or a state contract. We are blessed in Michigan with countless businesses who know what it means to be good corporate citizens. But we should not use your tax dollars to enrich the bad actors – the companies that incorporate in off-shore tax havens, violate U.S. pension laws and international labor standards. We should ensure that your dollars go to creating jobs here in Michigan, not moving jobs overseas.
It is in part because of our own excessive taxes that businesses large and small move out of the state; Michigan is not that friendly to businesses. If in fact that this state was more business-friendly and perhaps a tax haven we would have more companies here.
Sixth, give Michigan citizens a break on the costs they pay for their home and auto insurance. This year my administration started a first-of-its-kind pooling program for citizens who live in our cities and who traditionally pay the state’s highest insurance rates just because their address reads Detroit or Flint. But pilot programs aren’t enough – we have to reduce the cost of insurance in every city – and, frankly, in every driveway across the state. Democrats introduced a package of bills that would roll back insurance rates by 20 percent. It will give the Insurance Commissioner’s office the teeth it needs to find – and penalize – companies that are charging too much.
The state of Michigan could lower my insurance premiums just by taking away the two-point penalty that they grafted to my driver’s license. You can’t enforce the lowering of the cost but you can lower various requirements for insurance.
Tenth, join my call for a national cap on exorbitant oil company profits. The families of our state are being squeezed by the high cost of gasoline while the oil companies are earning jaw-dropping profits.
Lower the gas taxes and give individual companies more leeway in creating the specific formulae regarding gasoline mixtures and emissions. I have no problem with people making profits; I have a problem with getting squeezed; I would get squeezed less if it cost companies less to be here.
Finally, many of you listening tonight who work for small businesses do not have a pension plan. My administration will design and open a 401(k) plan, like the state’s plan, for those workers of small companies who don’t offer a pension plan. At minimal expense to state government, we will help tens of thousands of Michigan workers save for their retirement and achieve economic security.
Ah, crap. At least it’s the home stretch.
If those in this room can have a pension plan, thanks to the citizens, certainly those same citizens who are watching tonight ought to be able to have one, too.
This is terrible logic. In a sensible world it would be reversed. We shouldn’t get one because they have one; perhaps if it’s supposed to be fair they lose theirs because we don’t have it.
So, my friends, as I’ve said tonight, we have much to do. A comprehensive plan to create jobs today and tomorrow, to give you and your family affordable health care, to give your children the best education in the nation, and to protect people and defend their opportunity for a good life. Michigan was built on the hard work of everyday people, and I’ll fight to protect the opportunity that hard work has won every day. So while I’ve talked a lot about the work before us, let me be clear: there is certainly a lot to love about Michigan just as she is… This plan is about fighting to protect your opportunity for that middle class way of life. It’s our Michigan version of the American dream…
The rest is emotional crap and I won’t repeat it here The rest of the speech is available on the official state site.
To summarize the Governor’s proposals, she intends, with a state already in fiscal debt:
- to provide health insurance for those who don’t have it
- pay heating bills for those who cannot
- provide free higher education universally
- provide a 401k pension plan for those who do not have one
These are a lot of gifts for a state with money problems as it is. Time and money will waste on
- bringing the full weight of the State of Michigan against bullies in the schoolyard
The very nature of market forces will be twisted and torqued as
- a price ceiling is lowered for various goods and services
- the floor is raised as minimum wage is raised
Restrictions like that makes businesses leave if they can afford to or shut down if they cannot. Those that remain hire less folk and less folk getting income means less income tax means less money for the state to pay for these expensive programs that the Governor promises.
Furthermore, with all of these gifts we have socialism. Either there will be a wierd economic crash as these promises are fulfilled or the governor is lying.
And again Governor Granhold kept emphasizing alternative energy. Not only is the solution to dependence on foreign oil the collection of fossil fuels from our own areas (such as the Great Lakes) but she is making a cornerstone of her theoretical new economy an industry based on a technology that is either environmentally disasterous or fiscally not possible. It’s a technology that for practical intents and purposes does not exist.
I’ll go into the specifics of that later.
The stuff that is most relevent to me is that her so-called plan really doesn’t promise opportunities until I am out of my twenties. I cannot survive based on these plans; I’m not going to let her fight for me; I am fighting for myself.
Fight for yourself.