“It’s a nerdy job, but somebody has to do it,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in the first ad of his obvious, yet unannounced reelection bid.
I voted for Snyder in 2010, but I am less inclined to do so when the Republican will be up for reelection in 2014. The ad has provoked the desire to reappraise Snyder’s record.
When Snyder came into office in January 2011, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 11 percent. Unemployment has since dropped considerably (8.8 percent).
Whether or not the drop was caused by the Obama administration’s interventions in the auto industry or Snyder’s taxing and spending policies is open for debate. More research is needed for a clear answer.
The problem is that lately the unemployment rate has started to move upwards while the national unemployment rate has continued to decline. Unemployment reached its lowest point over the course of Snyder’s first term this year in March, when the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent.
Preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate will rise to 9 percent.
Mostly, I have been pleased with Snyder’s attempts to spur development and commercial activity. He improved the state’s tax policy towards businesses when he disposed of the Michigan Business Tax in favor of a simpler corporate income tax.
His overseas trips have been part of an important effort to expand trade in the state, and savvy when you consider Detroit is already the top exporter to Canada and Mexico. “In Export Boom, U.S. Cities Sell to the World” an article from Bloomberg Businessweek detailed this fact: “36 percent of Detroit’s exports go to Mexico, 30 percent to Canada, and 7 percent to Saudi Arabia.”
Also, while Detroiters have called the current administrations actions autocratic, racist and counterproductive, they were mostly responsible – more responsible than any other state leader has acted towards the city.
As noted in “A New State of the States” by Jennifer Bradley of the New Republic, “In 16 other states, two metros produce more than the rest of the state combined (L.A. and San Francisco; Dallas and Houston; Detroit and Grand Rapids).” Snyder’s decision to intervene into the city’s finances was not only necessary for the citizens of Detroit, but for the entire state.
Moreover, as the ad states “our tough nerd has erased our one and a half billion dollar deficit.” That is the kind of leadership that Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, the Indiana Republican showed in his state – and that Snyder has replicated.
Another $500 million was added to the state’s reserve fund, years after it had been left empty. The reserve fund was exhausted after former Gov. John Engler left office in 2003. And former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, could not add to the fund as she struggled with a budget crisis of her own and a recalcitrant state Legislature (controlled by Republicans).
With all that said, in my next column I will tell you why I am still disinclined to cast another vote for Snyder.
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