Rick Snyder became Michigan's 48th governor when he was sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2011. In his inaugural address, he described his vision for reinventing Michigan by creating more and better jobs, revitalizing the educational system, and revamping government to focus on providing excellent service to its customers, the state's 10 million people.
With the state's people and economy struggling, Snyder infused his administration with a sense of urgency, saying he wanted to accomplish four years of policy reforms in his first year and then maintain that pace. He describes his approach as "Relentless Positive Action." That means solve a problem with no credit or blame and then move on to the next one.
Bringing that business executive's approach to government has produced impressive results. With Snyder's leadership, the state has eliminated its $1.5 billion structural deficit and produced three balanced budgets without any accounting gimmicks. The state's "rainy day" fund has gone from nearly zero to a balance of more than $500 million. The state also has repealed the job-killing Michigan Business Tax and replaced it with a Corporate Income Tax that reduced the state tax burden on job providers by at least 80 percent.
The governor also has led efforts to secure pensions and retirement benefits for state employees and teachers, while reducing long-term costs to taxpayers, and boosted state funding for K-12 education by nearly $1 billion, or an average of $632 per pupil. Early childhood education is a priority for the governor and he's implementing a plan to eliminate need as a barrier to attending preschool by 2015.
Snyder's reinvention of Michigan is working and making a difference in the lives of people across the state. Michigan's economy is at a 10-year high and more than 200,000 private sector jobs have been created in the state during the governor's tenure. Plus personal income and home values are on the rise. Most important is the renewed optimism in Michigan and growing agreement with the governor's view that the state's people and businesses can build a better future by working together.