This article appeared in the December 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Q: What have been your most significant accomplishments as Governor in relation to manufacturing?
Governor Snyder: I believe the most significant accomplishment has been changing the state’s economic culture. We fixed that and more. We’re eight for eight in balanced and on-time budgets and we started paying our debts. We completely rewrote our business tax system, replacing the Michigan Business Tax with a simple, fair and efficient Corporate Income Tax. Because of this reform, 100,000 businesses no longer have to file tax returns. We took it a step further by also reforming our burdensome Personal Property Tax system without hurting local communities and schools. On top of that, we reformed our tax credit system to make it simpler and more competitive. These reforms made it much less risky to do business in Michigan. And we made sure that everyone knows that Michigan is leading the future with advanced manufacturing, more automation and incredibly modern factories and processes. We have fully embraced the 21st century.
But we didn’t stop there. We made Michigan a right-to-work state. We repealed over 2,000 outdated regulations and reduced permitting approvals by over 60 percent in many cases. And we did the Marshall Plan for Talent. Because, remember, the problem in Michigan used to be people getting employed, now the problem is employers getting people. That is a good problem to have, but a different one, and so now we’re focusing on talent.
Q: Why was talent and skilled trades development so important to your legislative agenda over the last eight years?
Governor Snyder: After we solved the fundamental and structural issues, we had to look at talent. We forecasted over 800,000 high-demand job openings in the next few years and we know that the state that can provide that talent will win in the 21st century economy. The key to the Marshall Plan is that it tears down the silos that have existed for too long between educators and business leaders. Working together, both sectors will benefit and our students and future employees can thrive.
Q: If you weren’t term-limited, what challenge would you likely prioritize in 2019 relating to growth and competitiveness of manufacturing?
Governor Snyder: I’d press on the gas even harder. I’d make sure that our responsible budget practices stay in place and that we keep paying our debts. We have a payment plan that has all of our debts paid off in 2038. Imagine what we’ll be able to do then! I’d make sure that the Marshall Plan accelerates because that level of change takes time.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Governor Snyder: I’d like to do what I can as a private citizen to continue Michigan’s forward momentum. As part of that, I want to continue speaking about civility. The lack of civility is the greatest threat to our nation. For eight years, I have tried to govern under the mantra of Relentless Positive Action. It primarily means finding a way to work together to solve those things upon which you can agree. That’s how we have made Michigan a model for the rest of the country to follow. Michigan has undergone a tremendous comeback. Now, we need to find a way to continue working together and take it to the next level.