BLUEPRINT: A Michigan That Works for Everyone
HERE IN MICHIGAN, we had our own unique version of the American Dream. This Michigan Dream was built on a set of shared values: the belief that a quality education and economic opportunity were available to anyone willing to work for it, pride in making our communities a great place to raise our families, and the opportunity for each of us to escape to and enjoy our beautiful lakes, rivers, forests and parks. We put the world on wheels. We built the finest public education system and public college and university system in the world. We invented the 40- hour work week and built the middle class. We lived in a Michigan that worked for everyone.
In Michigan, our own history has shown that the best way to create jobs and grow the economy is from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. A strong economy is built on a strong middle class that has the economic security to afford a safe home, reliable car, a kids’ college fund and an occasional family vacation.
Unfortunately, after nearly four years on the job, Republican Governor Rick Snyder has shown that he puts big corporations and the wealthy ahead of regular people. At the same time, he has put the Michigan Dream at risk, dismantling our public education system, making college unaffordable for many, cutting money for vital services like police and fire departments that keep our communities safe, and removing key protections for our Great Lakes and our other natural assets.
Snyder cut over $1 billion from education, raising class sizes, hurting school quality and making it harder for our children to compete for the jobs of the future. And Snyder’s unfair tax on retirement income and property tax hike on seniors are hurting retirees who have worked hard and played by the rules.
A nerd should know that’s no way to build a strong economy.
Snyder’s policies work for the wealthy, but they’re not working for the rest of Michigan. We’re 49th in projected job growth and ranked among the five worst state economies in the nation. Job growth and personal income growth are well below the national averages. We are better than that here in Michigan.
I grew up in a middle class family in Livingston County. My dad was a high school science teacher and my mom was a nurse. I saw the difference they made. They showed me that the key to a good job is a good education, and that if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could live the Michigan Dream.
To move Michigan forward, we need to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy. That’s what this plan is all about – creating good jobs, helping our kids compete for high-wage, high- skill jobs, helping Michigan businesses compete and building ladders to the middle class.
It’s time to get our priorities straight. We need to reverse Rick Snyder’s $1 billion cuts to education and make education our top economic priority. We should give companies tax incentives to come to Michigan, but hold them accountable for creating jobs here. If they send jobs overseas or don’t create jobs in Michigan, they should lose their tax breaks. We must fix our roads and our communities. And we should invest in high-tech research to attract new jobs to Michigan. It is time for us to rebuild the Michigan Dream, to create a new era of economic opportunity for all of our citizens.
This is the blueprint I’ll use to lead as Michigan’s next Governor, and I want to hear your ideas and feedback so we can improve this plan along the way. I want to hear from moms, dads, students, workers, small business owners, community leaders and seniors so we can hit the ground running on Day One.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Invest in Education to Compete for Good Jobs — Education is the best investment we can make for Michigan’s future. To prepare Michiganders for 21st century jobs, we must reverse Governor Snyder’s cuts to our K-12 classrooms and universities. We must also ensure all children have access to quality teachers and smaller class sizes. Additionally, we should make college more affordable by increasing need-based financial aid, and we should invest in community colleges and technical and skilled trades training programs to help students get the skills they need to compete for good jobs. READ MORE
Grow the Economy from the Middle Out — To promote economic fairness and create ladders to the middle class, we must work to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. We should cut taxes for the middle class by restoring the Child Tax Credit, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, restoring the Homestead Property Tax Credit for seniors and eliminating the Snyder Retirement Tax. To ensure big corporations start paying their fair share, we must end tax breaks for companies that outsource Michigan jobs. READ MORE
Help Small Businesses & Manufacturers Create High-Tech Jobs — Michigan needs to build on its strengths by investing in automotive research and advanced manufacturing. Our automotive industry has provided a legacy of outstanding R&D laboratories, superb engineering prowess and leadership in materials science. These areas of expertise translate well to the design, manufacturing and production of advanced technologies and the creation of high-tech jobs. We need to leverage our strengths to spur growth and capture new opportunities for Michigan businesses and a promising future for the next generation of Michigan workers. To promote a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, the state should eliminate arcane barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and provide small businesses with tax credits to create good middle class jobs. Additionally, we should expand access to start- up capital and small business lending to spark the next generation of workers, innovators and job creators right here in Michigan. READ MORE
Build Vibrant, Healthy Communities — Michigan needs vibrant, healthy, dynamic and livable communities to attract and retain young people and the talented workers needed to contribute to a new, stronger economic future. The state should prioritize public safety in our communities and leverage all available resources to remove blighted properties, and build quality infrastructure and modern transportation systems. We must create job opportunities through a “Learn and Earn” program to train young workers so they can get the skills they need to compete for good paying jobs. READ MORE
Fix Michigan’s Infrastructure — Michigan’s crumbling roads are an embarrassment and cost motorists $2.5 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. To fix our roads, we should: fight to get more of our tax dollars back from Washington and end our status as a donor state; audit state government and cut wasteful spending on poor oversight of contractors; develop a bipartisan solution that requires corporations that received a $1.8 billion tax break to pay their fair share without unfairly burdening the middle class and those struggling to reach the middle class. READ MORE
Protect Our Environment – The Essence of Pure Michigan — As the Great Lakes State, Michigan’s economic strength, our tourism industry and our citizens’ health rely on clean water. The state must get tough on polluters like Enbridge and require it to replace its aging pipelines like Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac, to ensure pipeline safety and prevent future oil spills. Moreover, we must work to protect our Great Lakes shoreline and dunes, and prevent invasive species such as Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, which would have a devastating impact on our economy. READ MORE
Securing Michigan’s Energy Future — Instead of spending $24 billion each year to import our energy from other states and countries, we must keep more of our energy dollars in Michigan. It’s time to set an aggressive, achievable goal for clean energy by raising Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard to require 30 percent of the state’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar by 2035. This will create thousands of good manufacturing and construction jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We must also improve Michigan’s Energy Efficiency Standard from one percent to two percent a year to reduce energy costs for homeowners and businesses. READ MORE
Focus on the Right Budget Priorities — A budget is a reflection of our priorities as a state. To fuel economic growth, our top budget priorities should be jobs, K-12 education, preschool, higher education and job training. We must make government more efficient and more effective by banning special deals for elected officials’ family and friends, capping pay raises for administration officials, and ending contracts with incompetent firms that deliver substandard services in Michigan prisons and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. The state should cut taxpayer spending on office furniture and cut gubernatorial political appointees. Additionally, the state should adopt tougher “Buy Michigan First” policies to ensure our tax dollars support Michigan businesses and Michigan jobs. READ MORE
Improve Government Transparency and Accountability — To restore faith in state government, we should require political funds to publicly disclose all contributors on a quarterly basis; require personal financial disclosure for elected officials and top appointees; ban lobbyist gifts to public officials; and close the revolving door between the legislature and the lobby corps. To ensure voters’ voices are heard in Lansing, we must ban partisan gerrymandering by establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw fair and truly representative legislative districts. Additionally, we must strengthen voting rights by allowing no-reason absentee voting, and expanding early voting. READ MORE
Make Michigan’s Economy Work for Women & Families — It’s time to make Michigan’s economy work for women and families. We should cut taxes for parents raising kids by restoring the Child Tax Credit. Michigan must ensure women earn equal pay for equal work by strengthening equal pay laws and creating stiffer penalties for wage discrimination based on gender. The state should expand paid sick leave, establish job protections for pregnancy-related disability, and protect women’s access to health care by repealing the so- called “rape insurance” law. READ MORE
Protect Michigan’s Wildlife: As Governor, Mark will support common-sense policies to protect animals from cruelty and abuse, such as allowing the inclusion of pets in protective orders to better protect victims of domestic violence; prohibiting bans on specific dog breeds; and restricting the continuous outdoor chaining of dogs. Mark also supports legislation to end the use of gas chambers to euthanize shelter pets; to provide standards of animal care at large-scale commercial puppy mills; and to increase penalties for cruelty to companion animals. Snyder also signed legislation to end-run Michigan voters and undermine a citizen referendum on whether wolves should be classified as a game species. Regardless of where people stand on wolf hunting, Mark believes that all voters have a right to have a say on the issue, and lawmakers should not undermine a fair election by the people. As Governor, Mark will appoint members of the Natural Resources Commission who are experts on wildlife management and represent the diverse interests and values of all Michiganders.