LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement on Tuesday, in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address:
“The biggest story of the year is Michigan’s outstanding comeback. As the governor referenced with two separate articles, one from 2009 outlining Michigan’s poor economy and one from 2017 formally declaring Michigan the nation’s comeback state, we are continuing to climb our way out of the lost decade.
“This comeback is very real. Michigan’s population has grown for six straight years and for the first time since the turn of the century, more people are coming to Michigan than are leaving the state. This is magnificent news.
“Through numerous reforms over the last eight years, we have created a business-friendly environment that has resulted in the creation of 540,000 private-sector jobs. These reforms have also led to the state’s unemployment rate being cut by more than half and Michigan seeing the nation’s largest increase in manufacturing jobs.
“Because of these enacted reforms and our state’s growing financial stability, we’ve been able to balance our budgets well ahead of schedule for seven years in a row. This fiscal responsibility allows schools, local governments and other programs and agencies that rely on state funding to get their budgets done ahead of time and prepare for emergencies as well.
“Another pleasant side effect of this continued fiscal responsibility is that we are now in a position to start giving back to families throughout the state. The Senate has led the charge with multiple tax reform bills that seek to provide clarity to recent action on the federal level in addition to savings for families. Last week, the Senate approved a measure that would restore as well as increase the state’s personal exemption after it was effectively eliminated by the federal government. If signed, this will provide much-needed relief to families across the entire state.
“Continuing to keep our schools well-funded is another priority of mine and I am glad the governor mentioned it. We invest over $14 billion annually in schools. That amounts to an increase of over $2.1 billion over the last seven years. In order to keep our state’s comeback moving, we need to continue raising this number and providing our students with only the best educational opportunities.
“As the governor stated, we also need to continue working to improve our infrastructure, both above and below ground. We’ve made efforts to increase road funding, fix potholes, and begin fixing pipelines, among other issues. We can’t afford to let off the gas now. We need to continue improving our infrastructure because it is critical to our state and our state’s success.
“Lastly, like the rest of those in attendance and anyone who was watching, I was extremely touched by the story of Jeremiah Nelson. Jeremiah, who suffers from spina bifida, is truly a story of Michigan’s gumption and what we are capable of when we put our minds to accomplishing our goals. Members of the Petoskey and Central Lake robotics teams came together to build Jeremiah an electronic car that allows him to be mobile and pursue interactions with other children. This is truly a testament to the kindness and ingenuity of Michiganders. I am tremendously proud of these two communities from my district.”