Michigan in 2017: Improvements made, but we need big goals

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, joined Gov. Rick Snyder in recognizing many of the achievements of Michigan citizens highlighted by the governor in his 2017 State of the State speech.

Michigan’s unemployment rate is now 10 points lower than it was in June of 2009, thanks in part to almost 500,000 private sector jobs being created in the past six years. That is the sixth best job growth in the nation, and the most in the Great Lakes Region. At the same time, Michigan ranks first in per-capita income growth for the Great Lakes Region and seventh in the nation over the past six years. Furthermore, home values have increased faster than the national average at a rate of 44 percent.

“Governor Snyder pointed out many reasons to be optimistic for Michigan in 2017 last night,” Sen. Colbeck said. “We are seeing evidence of these reasons in and around the 7th District, with Amazon and high tech manufacturers coming into Livonia as well as aerospace businesses giving serious consideration for projects at Willow Run. These are important economic development trends, but we still have significant issues that need to be addressed, like the ever-increasing tax burden on our workers and the need for improved education funding. In order to address these issues in a manner that puts the best interests of ALL of our citizens ahead of the special interests in Lansing, we need to establish some bold goals for 2017.”

Sen. Colbeck went on to outline these goals in a Senate floor speech on Wednesday.

“For starters, let’s eliminate the need for the net $8.7 billion in personal income tax the state collects every year and the ill-conceived Senior Pension Tax right along with it. I’m pleased to note that both chambers have introduced legislation that would eventually repeal the state income tax. In fact, I am honored to have co-sponsored Senate Bill 4, which would do just that. This is a good start.

“In addition to eliminating our state income tax, let’s find a way to add $3,000 per pupil per year into education without raising taxes. While we are at it, let’s grow and diversify jobs in Michigan with exciting new industries like aerospace — without pursuing economic development policies that pick winners and losers.

“I’ve done the research. Each of these goals is achievable, but we need to have the political will to think big on behalf of our citizens and not be willing to settle for the status quo.”

###