Snyder talks up immigration, preschool plans

Gov. Rick Snyder announced a plan Thursday to make Michigan more welcoming to immigrants and enticing for foreign investment, and he also pledged to free up more preschool slots for disadvantaged 4-year-olds during his fourth annual State of the State address.
AP Wire
Jan 16, 2014

The initiatives — along with a pilot project for moving some low-performing public schools to a year-round calendar and helping school districts and municipalities detect financial troubles before they need state intervention — were among the highlights of the Republican governor's speech.

Snyder, who is up for re-election in November, touted Michigan's "comeback" during the hour-long address to a joint session of the Legislature in the Capitol, mentioning the auto industry's continued resurgence, a drop in violent crime, the state's budget surplus and two consecutive years of population growth for the first time in a decade.

"People are staying again in Michigan, and we should be proud of that," he said.

Snyder committed to seeking an additional $65 million for the Great Start Readiness program so low-income children no longer have to be on a waiting list for financial help to attend preschool. A recent report showed Michigan led the U.S. last year with the biggest spending increase on early childhood programs, both on a percentage and dollar-amount basis, he said.

"We shouldn't have a wait for preschool," the governor said. "We're going to make it a no-wait state for early childhood education."

Snyder also will soon issue an executive order creating the Office for New Americans, joining two other states with immigration services based under one roof in the governor's office.

His administration also has applied to make Michigan the second state government to run a regional center for the EB-5 visa program, with the goal of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs. The EB-5 program designates businesses to recruit foreign investors for development projects. The investors get permanent U.S. residency for themselves and their families.

"If someone has the opportunity to come to our country legally, let's hold our arms open and say, 'Come to Michigan, this is the place to be,'" Snyder said.

While he briefly mentioned resolving Detroit's bankruptcy in 2014, Snyder stopped short of calling for state aid to soften cuts to pensions of city retirees and to prevent the sale of pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The governor met privately with legislators on Wednesday and earlier Thursday to float having the state match national and local foundations' $330 million commitment.

Snyder also touched on unfinished legislative business, such as increased spending for deteriorating roads and bridges and cracking down on scrap metal theft. But he did not make the stalled transportation legislation a major emphasis, as he has in previous years, nor did he mention auto insurance changes he sought last year in the Capitol.

In a twist from his general preference of not telling Congress what to do, the governor called for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Democrats said that was an appeal to tea party enthusiasts and other conservatives Snyder had rankled with his successful push for an expansion of Medicaid, which takes effect in April.

As expected, Snyder saved many budget-related specifics for his budget proposal, which is three weeks away.

He also highlighted a decline in violent crime in four cities his administration has targeted as part of a public safety initiative. Violent crime in the first 10 months of 2013 was down 30 percent in Flint, 16 percent in Saginaw, 7 percent in Detroit and 6.5 percent in Pontiac.

Democrat Mark Schauer, Snyder's likely opponent in November, questioned Snyder's "comeback" story. He told reporters earlier Thursday that more unemployed Michigan residents are filing for jobless benefits than in any other state. The unemployment rate of 8.8 percent is just slightly lower than a year ago.

"Rick Snyder's economy isn't working for average Michiganders," Schauer said before the speech, citing the governor's failure to embrace a minimum wage increase and his administration's big pay raises to state investment managers. "Rick Snyder's out of touch," he said.

 

Comments

AtomicRooster

Where is your brain Mr. Snyder? I think you are sitting on it. Oh yea right. Welcome more illegals in our state that can increase the welfare rolls and let's not forget crime rates. What do you have to worry about? They surely will not be living in YOUR well gated community. Yea just what we need more illegals to increase our already high crime rates in this state. Yea and give them free healthcare and bridge cards and free housing too while you're at it. You don't even take care of our high taxed working class AMERICAN citizens as it is, but you'll welcome more illegals in our state? Where is your brain? November 2014 cannot get here soon enough and I am sure more and more Michigan LEGAL citizens will stand firm with me on this. You're so out of touch with reality it isn't even funny. Vote Snyder out in November 2014. No good for Michigan. ABS=Anybody But Snyder.

watchingyou

Oh this is going to hurt a bit. I agree with you. Ouch, I need to go lay down now. My canary brain hurts now.

Say no to new taxes

The EB-5 program does nothing more then sell U.S. citizenship on the open market.

jlebrasseur

As a former Flintoid, I love how he says violent crime is down 30% in Flint. That statement is totally false. The truth is, Snyder's emergency manager that was appointed to Flint changed the way crimes were recorded, which generated this false drop in crime. Same with Saginaw.

It is kind of like how once you run out of unemployment benefits, you are no longer considered unemployed by the state and is one of the main reasons congress refused to extend EUC; to falsely and dramatically shift the unemployment numbers to make them look good. The true unemployment numbers are somewhere around 20% but nobody would know based on how the government calculates it.

Oh, and allowing immigrants to work here? Just takes jobs away from people like myself who have skills and have been constantly searching for work. Oh, I forgot, I am not unemployed anymore according to the government; my state unemployment ran out on Dec 28th. I will never have to worry about paying bills again!

caseygolf

Typical politician. Bragging about the survival of the auto industry which our President Obama implemented through loans to them. How soon we forget. He voted against this.

skyking007

Rick Snyder has done great harm to the working people in Michigan. He takes credit for the auto industries comeback and passes right to work. President Obama saved the Auto industry, not Mr. Snyder. Time will tell and a lot of people in Michigan will soon find lower wages, bad roads, more crime, schools without funds, as Michigan becomes poorer like some of the southern states.

bigdeal

We ARE turning red (unfortunately). Red means more welfare, higher unemployment, lower wages. And, I do see more people resembling Phil & Si...

Tri-cities realist

Resembling Phil and Si... You mean getting richer?

bigdeal

no I mean you are looking more like them, is that what you took away from my post? You are really a freaking winner aren't you now.

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