Detroit Regional Chamber Statement on Governor Whitmer’s Budget Proposal

“Governor Whitmer’s plan to address Michigan’s crumbling roads is certainly bold and generates the needed revenue to sufficiently address the challenge. The Chamber supports increased infrastructure investment and is reviewing the elements of her proposal. We look forward to seeking the input of our members as well as legislators before we take a formal position.  The Chamber believes that treating retirement income in the same manner as earned income is a critical fairness issue that was resolved in 2011, and does not support revisiting that matter.”

Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber

Gov. Snyder talks Detroit emergency manager, increased spending on roads at Detroit Regional Chamber luncheon

Crain’s Detroit Business

February 11, 2013

By Chris Gautz

Gov. Rick Snyder said he has not offered anyone the job as Detroit’s emergency manager but has been talking about it with people so he can act if needed.

But, he said, don’t take that to mean he has made up his mind to appoint one.

“If we go down that path, then I’ll have people available to help,” Snyder said.

He has compiled a short list, he said, declining to offer names.

Snyder made his remarks Monday afternoon after speaking to a packed crowd at MGM Grand Detroit for a Detroit Regional Chamber luncheon.

While on stage, Snyder said again that the role of the state is not to run the city of Detroit, but that the situation needs to be resolved.

The review team looking at the city’s finances should have a report to him within a few weeks, Snyder said.

It has taken longer than expected because he asked the team to look at a few other areas, including recent actions by the Detroit City Council that he said were largely positive.

But the governor also wanted to look at the long-term liabilities of the city. He said those problems have been building for decades and are not a reflection on the city’s current leadership.

“The city government’s finances need to get stabilized, they need to be resolved, we need to move forward,” Snyder said.

Detroit chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said getting the city back on track is far more important than any negativity that would come from a decision by Snyder to name an emergency manager.

“I think all the negative stories nationally about Detroit have been written and rewritten and rewritten again,” Baruah said. “The faster and more efficiently we can solve our serious issues, the better this state and this city are going to be.”

Since delivering his budget to the Michigan Legislature last week, Snyder was been making his way across the state to sell his plan. After stops in Grand Rapids and Flint, he brought his plan to Detroit and continued to make the case for increasing transportation revenue, expanding Medicaid, and socking more money away in the state’s rainy-day fund.

At the event, streamed live to other chamber groups across the state, Snyder touched on many of the same points but also faced a series of questions about the future of Detroit.

On transportation, Snyder said he understands he is asking for a lot of money each year – about $1.2 billion – but said the old attitude about wanting good roads but not wanting to pay for them needs to end.

“What kind of answer is that?” Snyder said.

He said part of his campaign goal of reinventing Michigan is about getting people to think long term when it comes to the state budget and not just what something will cost this year.

“That’s not very bright,” Snyder said.

His plans to increase transportation revenue and expand Medicaid are two examples of where investments and decisions will help save the state and individuals money in the long run, he said.

Snyder told Baruah during their discussion on stage that he decided to tackle transportation because he was “fed up” with people ignoring problems.

Regarding the New International Trade Crossing, Snyder said Michigan officials continue to wait on the presidential permit. But once it is in place, he expects the state will be in a position to move forward aggressively on building a new bridge across the Detroit River.

As for complaints unions have raised, Snyder said he doesn’t understand their opposition.

“This is a job creator,” he said.

Chris Gautz: (517) 403-4403, Twitter: @chrisgautz

Video Highlights: The State of Michigan Business: A Conversation over Lunch with the Governor

Below are highlights from The State of Michigan Business: A Conversation Over Lunch with the Governor. In his speech, Governor Rick Snyder addressed Chamber members at MGM Grand Detroit about his new budget and reinventing Michigan. Stay tuned for highlights from the question-and-answer segment, as well as photos from the luncheon.

Special thanks to Munder Capital Management for sponsoring this signature Chamber event.

State of Michigan Business: A Conversation over Lunch with the Governor from Detroit Regional Chamber on Vimeo.