Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

January 19, 2014

George Weeks: Foot on the gas — or the brake?

Gov. Rick Snyder’s fourth and final State of the State address of his first term last week not only set a 2014 agenda for the Legislature. It also helps set the stage for the campaign that will determine whether he will get a second term.

“We’ve become the comeback state, but our work is not done,“ Snyder said in an hour-long message to a joint session at the Capitol that, as usual, was hailed by the party of the sitting governor, but not the other one. “It’s about keeping your foot on the gas.”

Mark Schauer of Battle Creek, a former congressman and state Senate minority leader who is the likely Democratic nominee against Snyder (who has yet to formally announce for reelection) suggests it is about putting the foot on the brake on Snyder.

Schauer said Snyder’s “economic policies don’t work. We’re a consumer-driven economy, and Rick Snyder’s policies have made it worse by taking money out of pockets of people who can least afford it.”

As the Associated Press summarized it, Snyder announced a plan “to make Michigan more welcoming to immigrants and enticing for foreign investment, and he also pledged to free up more preschool slots for disadvantaged 4-year-olds.”

Seeking foreign investments has been a welcome thrust of his periodic overseas travel. Also welcome, in this pothole season, was his renewed push for more than $1 billion a year in further funding to fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges. Prospects for the push are dim before the election.

Snyder’s agenda, plodding in delivery but solid in content, also included proposals on urban blight and other city issues, seniors, some limited tax relief, and, ever so limited, the environment, with mixed reviews.

In a statement distributed by the Sierra Club, the Clean Water Now said Snyder showed “lack of vision.” The Michigan United Conservation Clubs said he “continues to move Michigan conservation communities priorities.”,

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