FRANKENMUTH – Gov. Rick Snyder told a crowd of supporters gathered inside Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Tuesday, Feb. 4, that Michigan has improved dramatically since he first took office. But, Snyder said, his work is not finished.
“In 2009 and 2010 we were broken,” he said. “We need to get back to the fundamentals. Government exists to serve you.”
Snyder this week is announcing his bid for reelection in stops in six Michigan cities. The second to last stop on Tuesday was Frankenmuth, which Snyder called a Michigan “landmark.”
The incumbent governor marketed himself as “the comeback kid” in a campaign advertisement that first aired during the Super Bowl. He said that language stems from improvements made in the state over the last four years.
“We are the comeback state,” Snyder said. “We have accomplished tremendous things.”
Snyder was introduced Tuesday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who touted the Snyder administration’s elimination of the state’s $1 billion deficit and estimates of 220,000 new private-sector jobs since 2011.
Just outside Zehnder’s, a small group of protesters had a different view of the administration’s claims of success. They held signs with slogans like “Snyder cut schools” and “Snyder raised my taxes.” Protesters said the governor is wrong for Michigan’s middle class and should be ousted in 2014.
Snyder was flanked during Tuesday’s event by local business leaders who shared stories of recent success and credited state cooperation for those accomplishments.
Lindsay Stevens-Eggers, vice president of finance for Saginaw-based Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, said Snyder understands that “strong business makes for a strong state.”
Stevens-Eggers praised his administration for the repeal of the Michigan Business Tax, which she said has freed up time for her staff to spend more time focusing on customer service and less on “complicated tax forms.”
Dick Mott, vice president and chief financial officer of Saginaw Township-based Morley Companies, credited state grant programs and the cooperative effort with state agencies with helping the company grow and expand to a staff of 1,700.
Mike Grossi, owner of Saginaw Township-based Kremin Inc., talked about plans to more than double his staff of 23 employees in the next few years.
“We are excited about what’s going on in the state of Michigan, especially from a manufacturing standpoint,” Grossi said.
The local businessman said he appreciated programs like the state’s Pure Michigan business contact program that gives his company “a chance to get our name in the mix.”
The governor gave some previews of his upcoming state budget presentation, saying one focus next year will be to “get rid of the waiting list for preschool” Michigan. Drawing from the state’s budget surplus, Snyder said he plans to recommend increases to the budget EVIP funding to local governments.
“We will be making recommendations on that tomorrow,” he said. “But it’s not just about spending money or cutting taxes.”
Snyder said he also hopes to continue innovative job training opportunities like the Michigan Advanced Technician Training program and introduce new ones as well.
Mark Tower covers local government for MLive/The Saginaw News. Contact him at 989-284-4807, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.