Governor Rick Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State address last evening before a joint convention of the Michigan House and Senate. I was honored to be joined at the address by Bay City Mayor Chris Shannon.
I applaud the governor for laying out a positive plan for building on the accomplishments of the last three years and solving the challenges that remain.
I am encouraged by his focus on agriculture, invasive species and expanding export markets across the nation and around the world for Michigan-made and grown products, as I have been and will continue to be directly involved in those issues legislatively.
I especially appreciate his public support during the speech for my efforts to pass a federal balanced budget amendment. Michigan is making a lot of progress and if we are to fulfill our greatest potential as a state, it is imperative that the federal government get its fiscal house in order, budget responsibly and live within its means.
Our nation's leaders only need to look to Michigan to see how it's done. Through bold leadership and thoughtful reforms, we have brought financial stability to our state and put it on the path to long-term economic prosperity.
Since Michigan's reinvention began in 2011, we have:
Nearly 223,000 new private sector jobs have been created. The unemployment rate has been cut by more than a third and people are choosing to live here as population grows. Even more exciting, Michigan closed out 2013 with the 2nd largest gain in jobs over a year since 1999.
The rest of the nation is noticing. All major credit rating agencies have upgraded our state's rating or outlook. Site Selection magazine named Michigan the No. 4 state for major new corporate facilities and expansions. The Tax Foundation ranks Michigan's business tax climate as 14th best in the nation for 2014, up from 49th just a few years ago.
Michigan really is making a comeback!
Although progress has been made, our work is not finished. In addition to the priorities I have already mentioned, we must remain committed to responsible budgeting, provide further tax relief to taxpayers, address our deteriorating roads and bridges, and further strengthen educational opportunities.
Education is particularly important. Since 2011, the Legislature has increased K-12 funding by $800 million or by just under $700 more per student. We tied that spending to fundamental education reforms and accountability measures. Our financial commitment to education paired with further reform must continue.
As a legislator, I'm proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to working with the governor and my fellow legislators to build upon this success.
More importantly, as a parent and grandparent, I am driven by the purpose of handing my five kids and twenty grandkids a reinvented Michigan that offers even more opportunity than what my generation was blessed with over the years.