As the end of 2012 draws near, Gov. Rick Snyder reflected on some of the highlights and accomplishments that transpired in Lansing and what he hopes can be achieved in 2013. He said via a telephone interview that although there is still much work to do to get Michigan to the point it needs to be in terms of job creation and fiscal responsibility, the state is headed in the right direction.
Snyder said a lot of work was done in Lansing in 2012. He said much of it as regulation reform, which removed 880 policies that were no longer relevant. He said the changes were done carefully and with the people of Michigan in mind.
He said for every new policy that was implemented this year, 13 irrelevant ones were removed. He said there also were bills passed into law that he believes will lead to a growth of small businesses. Snyder said the recently passed right-to-work will help spur job growth and offer employees an option in whether to work under a unions umbrella or not.
"We really got a lot done and had a productive year," Snyder said. "We did away with the personal property tax and we have also become a right to work state and I think that will bring more jobs to Michigan. The right-to-work law will give the workers the freedom to choose and I think that is only fair."
Snyder said there is still more work to be done in 2013 and has several plans in place he hopes will help get people back to work. He said part of the challenge is finding people who have specific specialty skills that companies need. He said even though Michigan has made strides in attracting businesses and small businesses beginning to hire, a significant increase won't occur until some issues are decided in Washington.
"We need to do a better job of taking people with special trades and talents and connecting them with employers," Snyder said. "I will be hosting some summits to bring both sides together and hopefully create an opportunity for people to find work. Right now our largest challenge is in Washington and the fiscal cliff. If it weren't for that we would be doing better, but with all of the uncertainty businesses are holding back on hiring and expanding until the answers to the questions are there."
Snyder said he plans on continuing to focus on the current and future health of the Great Lakes. He said in order to be more affective he is going to be working more closely with bordering states and Canada to deal with the threats the lakes face.
"We are going to be having summits with the Great Lakes governors and some representatives from Canada to exchange ideas and talk about how we can better protect our biggest asset, which are the Great Lakes," Snyder said. "Right now Michigan does a good job, but it is very important to have partners in this effort as well."
He said he hopes to make his way to Alpena either in the spring or summer to spend some time on Lake Huron and at the NOAA facility. He said he also hopes to be able to get a close look at some of Thunder Bay's shipwrecks.
"What I would really like to be able to do is dive some the the wrecks," Snyder said. "I think that would be just great. I'll tell you what Alpena has a lot going for it, the sanctuary being just one of them."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.