Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday touted Michigan's economic and fiscal gains under his watch, saying his tenure has had its "ups and downs" but that the state is in better shape than before he took office.
In his eighth and final State of the State address, the Republican governor recapped many past initiatives but said he has an ambitious agenda for his last year in office, with a focus on infrastructure and the environment.
"During this period, we've had huge ups and down. It hasn't been a straight line. But overall, there is no question that Michigan is a far better state today than 2010," Snyder told a joint session of the Legislature toward the end of the 53-minute speech.
Next week, he said, he will unveil five major policy initiatives related to rural broadband access, recycling, Asian carp in the Great Lakes, water infrastructure and the replacement of money that has dried up for environmental cleanup. And in February, he will detail a "Marshall Plan" for developing a talented workforce.
Snyder's speech came less than a week after the GOP-led Legislature overwhelmingly overrode one of his vetoes for the first time, enacting a speedier tax cut for people who trade in a car for a new one. He made no mention of the override in his remarks. But he clearly sought to dampen lawmakers' push for a cut in individual taxes while he talked about "fiscal responsibility."
He lamented a "broken culture in our political world where it's OK to say, 'We can spend money or we can cut our taxes — and do that now for short-term benefit — and leave the bill for the kids and their family.' I don't think that's right. If we're going to do something, let's make sure we're paying for it."
Snyder also hinted at big components of his budget proposal that will be outlined in February. He said he will propose spending more on roads and bridges than is called for under a 2015 road funding deal.
He also pledged to propose the biggest increase in base per-pupil funding for K-12 schools in the last 15 years.