State Politics

State of the State: The Party of Big Business?

“Who here would like to return to Michigan in 2009?” asked Governor Snyder to a silent House chamber in Wednesday’s State of the State address. Apparently, House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer.

The Democratic Senate Minority Leader’s Democratic response was fiercely partisan – if apparently delivered from an alternative universe. “Unemployment has gone up, while paychecks have gone down,” she complained of Snyder’s two years in office.

Huh? Michigan’s unemployment rate when Snyder took office was 11.7 percent (14.2 percent in 2009). Today it stands at 8.9. The state’s per capita income is up – growing at the 9th fastest pace in the union.

But Whitmer’s central theme – echoing the Obama- in-2012 campaign – is that the Gateway CEO-turned-guv has “favored the bottom line of corporations over the middle class.”

The evidence is otherwise. Under Jennifer Granholm, Democrats pursued an economic policy narrowly tailored to politically-connected Big Business. Tax breaks went to the few at the expense of the many:  Big Wind firms, Big Battery companies like LGChem and A123 Systems, and Big Hollywood filmmakers (including a million smackaroos to 99 Percent advocate Michael Moore).

By contrast, Snyder’s tax breaks target all businesses: His repeal of the Michigan Business Tax, personal property tax, and onerous regulations (over 1000 eliminated in 2012 alone) have benefited all, not just the privileged few. Combined with right-to-work’s historic passage and Snyder has hung out a “Welcome Jobs” sign on Michigan’s front door.

Henry Payne
Henry Payne is the auto critic for The Detroit News. A 25-year newspaper veteran, Payne is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate, a former columnist and editorial writer for The News, and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and other publications. His auto reviews appear every Thursday in the Drive section.