My fellow Michiganders, due to my recent ankle injury, I've had a little more time to sit and contemplate this State of the State address.
I now realize that the last thing the state should be doing is reaching into your pockets for another $1.7 billion annually. That's not the way to grow our state's economy, nor help our families and it's certainly not the way to encourage job growth and businesses to relocate to our state. I therefore ask you all to vote "no" on the May 5th tax hike vote.
Speaking of encouraging job growth and businesses to relocate to Michigan, I now realize that taking money from all businesses and doling it out to certain select businesses is not something government should do. Within 90 days, I will shut down the corporate welfare arm of the state, the MEDC, and ask the legislature to use the $300 million to go for tax relief for all job providers.
And about roads - I have asked Speaker Cotter to dust off the initial House proposal from late last year, that raised the amount needed for roads without raising taxes and pass it over to the senate, where I will make sure this time they will not reject it and try to push higher taxes on our citizens.
And I am excited that both the House and Senate Republicans want to repeal Prevailing Wage. Once they get that to my desk, I will sign it and our taxpayer money for roads and school projects and other construction will go even further, saving hundreds of millions of tax dollars every year.
Making sure our citizens' tax money goes as far as possible brings me to something that, well, I need to pause and make an apology. As a candidate, I ran on the promise to implement "value for money budgeting". I haven't done that...and I am deeply sorry. With the upcoming budget that I propose soon, I will make sure that we measure the value each department delivers - with clear, transparent, trustworthy metrics.
And we in Lansing will need to look closer at our spending, because before I leave office in four years, the income tax rate will be back down to the promised 3.95%. Back when Lansing wasn't watching it's spending, they drove the rate up to 4.35%, but promised it would come down to 3.95%...well, we stopped that scheduled reduction in 2011 - but we will restore that promised reduction...and then some. The best way to ensure that happens, is by implementing Value for Money Budgeting.
Now, when it comes to education...well, I don't know what I was thinking when it comes to nationalizing education. No one actually believes that making decisions for standards and thereby curriculum should be done on a national level. I want you, the legislature, to join me in fighting the federal government's intrusion into the education of the students in our state. We will stop Common Core. We will not allow nationalized testing in our schools. We will look to push as much decision-making as possible to the local level, because...of course, parents and teachers know what is best for little Suzy and Billy.
And the federal government....you know, we need to stand up to the federal government. The EPA, the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Labor, Ag and so many of those agencies do great harm our job providers and our families. I will be diligent in looking for ways to stand up to the feds and fight for our businesses and families.
President Obama's administration did recently say that they would reduce, to some degree, the use of civil asset forfeiture - you know what that is? That's taking our citizens' assets without even a conviction! Who would have thought that was even legal? Well, that was a small step, Mr. President, but here in Michigan, we are going to stop this practice by our state and local governments cold. No more! Due process actually means something here in Michigan!
And finally - transparency - let me end with saying that we are going out for bid soon for a new accounting and computer system - our current system is very old. Let me say right now, I will make sure that the new system will make Michigan the leader in transparency - real transparency - of the spending of our state tax dollars. Our citizens will be able, if they want, to see details of every check, every vendor, every reason for the spending of their tax money. And I will demand that local governments follow our lead.
We have a river...no, an ocean of opportunity - not for more programs, not for higher taxes...not for bigger government...but an ocean of opportunity to be bold and to make Michigan the example to all the nation for how government should be done. Let's use Positive, Relentless Action for this vision and for, truly, a better Michigan.
God bless you all.
but alas, it was only a dream