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An Amazing Story

Mackinac Policy Conference will help write the next chapter in Michigan’s turnaround
By Governor Rick Snyder
May 2012: Page 14

Michigan has a great story to tell, and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference will go a long way in writing the next chapter.

The path to success for any organization is paved with a clear vision, achievable goals, a well-thought strategy and constructive dialogue. It’s no different for the state of Michigan.

That’s why the Mackinac Policy Conference continues to be a driving force in shaping Michigan’s agenda. For more than 30 years, it has helped to guide Michigan on its journey by providing a forum for the critical exchange of ideas. Its ability to bring together leaders in the political, business and philanthropic communities for an intensive, informative gathering sets this conference apart from all others.

But the event is much more than a conference. Thanks to the outstanding leadership of Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah and his team, it’s actually a call to action that doesn’t end when we leave Mackinac Island. We are committed to pursuing concrete action items that translate into tangible results. For example, last year’s policy conference resulted in a “to-do” list of seven items slated for action. I look forward to seeing the status report that will be shared by the Chamber.

In the meantime, we should be heartened by the numerous other indicators around the state that underscore Michigan’s continuing turnaround. After struggling through the last decade with a lagging economy, Michigan is poised to be America’s “comeback kid.” Consider the following:

  • Just last year, we were cutting our way out of a $1.5 billion deficit. Today, we’re proposing a state budget that strategically invests in key priorities such as education, public safety and transportation.
  • A few short years ago, Michigan was notorious for its high unemployment rate. Today, while much work remains to reduce it even more, we’re seeing the lowest jobless rate since August 2008.
  • Roughly 80,000 private-sector jobs were created in the state last year.
  • Personal income in Michigan last year grew at the strongest rate in more than a decade, exceeding the rate of its Great Lakes neighbors and the entire nation.
  • Michigan’s corporate tax ranking will go from 49th in the nation to 7th thanks to our bold tax reforms, according to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate.

There’s no doubt that the Great Lakes State is fast becoming a national model of success and innovation. The word is out – Michigan is the place to do business and enjoy a great quality of life.

None of this is by accident. Michiganders are working together with relentless positive action to do what we do best – overcome challenges and build a brighter future for our children. Of course, our partners in the Legislature are making the bold but thoughtful reforms necessary to get Michigan back on track.

But our work is far from done. We need to keep our foot on the gas pedal because challenges remain. There’s much more that we can do to enhance Michigan’s business climate, such as moving forward with the New International Trade Crossing. We also must focus on strengthening our communities – especially our urban areas – by creating a sense of “place” that attracts investors and talented professionals. This is especially important considering Michigan was the only state to lose population according the most recent census.

Still, it’s clear that Michigan’s needle is moving in the right direction. In every corner of our state, there is a growing confidence that Michigan’s brightest days are still ahead. Making good use of tools such as the Mackinac Policy Conference, we will tap the boundless energy and creativity that are the hallmarks of all Michiganders, and create unlimited opportunities for the next generation.

Rick Snyder is the governor of the state of Michigan.