Gov. Rick Snyder's State of the State speech 'most boring ever'

| Thursday, January 19, 2012
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With all the issues facing Michigan this year--potential right-to-work legislation, a financially teetering Detroit and what to do with a budget surplus among them--anticipation was high for Gov. Rick Snyder's second State of the State speech.

Thud. Snyder's speech mostly focused on the many accomplishments of his first year and didn't provide a clear road map--or many details--on where he's going this year.

Veteran political analyst Bill Ballenger called it "the most boring State of the State ever." And Bill has heard all of them. Just kidding, Bill!

But Ballenger said boring, in Snyder's case, is probably good.



Snyder's style is to give a broad outline of what he wants to accomplish but not reveal many details ahead of time. Witness his repeated refusal during his election campaign to explain how he intended to pay for a $1.7 billion business tax cut. We eventually found out.

As Ballenger noted during a "Off the Record" session following the SOS, a Republican-controlled Legislature means Snyder can accomplish pretty much whatever he wants without jawing much about it in advance.

Still, the speech was a disappointment to those looking for details on how Snyder intends to continue implementing what he calls "Michigan 3.0"--the era of innovation.

Strangely, he spent time praising the economic growth of sectors from Michigan 1.0 and 2.0--agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism. No mention at all of knowledge jobs in health care, financial services, and business, professional and technical services.

And no discussion of whether the governor will propose using some of the budget surplus on new investments in education and cities. (State Board of Education President John Austin has written an insightful piece on Michigan's need for new public investments in Dome magazine.)

Some say Snyder accomplished so much in changing the direction of state government in his first year that this year will spent implementing that new direction.

But as he did in his first year, I suspect Snyder will surprise us with some of the policy directions he takes in 2012. This is a governor who under-articulates and over-delivers. His SOS speech may have been boring, but I don't think his actions will be.




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