Mackinac Center State Of State Rankings

Governor’s First State of the State Address Includes Nine Proposed Government Expansions, Three Limitations

Snyder’s speech a ‘mixed bag,’ said author of annual tally

MIDLAND — Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2011 State of the State address included nine proposed expansions of government and three limitations, according to Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive, who has tallied and categorized annual State of the State addresses dating back to 1969.

“Like all State of the State speeches, this one was a mixed bag,” said LaFaive. “Gov. Snyder hinted at some positive things, but didn’t go nearly far enough with specific, cost-saving ideas that Michigan desperately needs to right its economy. The governor did say he is planning to give a series of legislative updates, so hopefully those will include more substantive policy recommendations.”

Gov. Snyder said he intends to present the Legislature with a two-year budget by mid-February, and will deliver a message in March on government reform.

“I was delighted to hear Gov. Snyder recognize that Michigan government has ‘an unsustainable financial model.’ Ideally he would have used that sentence as a segue to discuss one pointed solution; namely reining in the extraordinary cost of non-salary benefits for government employees,” LaFaive said.

A Mackinac Center analysis shows that public-sector employees receive annual benefits worth $5.7 billion more than those in the private sector.

“The highlight of the speech was Gov. Snyder’s call for an end to the Michigan Business Tax and its surcharge,” said LaFaive. “His plan is to replace it with a 6 percent corporate tax, which is a good start, but ideally it would be replaced with nothing. Doing so could create more than 120,000 new jobs through 2016, according to our calculations.”

The results of the annual tally are below.

Expansions and Limitations by Administration since 1969*

Gov. Milliken, 1969-1982 Avg. High Low
Proposed expansions 5.6 12 (’71, 80) 0 (’74)
Proposed limitations 2.9 8 (’73) 0 (’70, ’79, ’82)
Gov. Blanchard, 1983-1990 Avg. High Low
Proposed expansions 8.6 19 (’89, ’90) 1 (’85)
Proposed limitations 2.1 7 (’84) 0 (’87, ’88)
Gov. Engler, 1991-2002 Avg. High Low
Proposed expansions 8.4 18 (’00) 3 (’91)
Proposed limitations 4.3 11 (’95) 1 (’02, ’97, ’03)
Gov. Granholm, 2003-2010 Avg. High Low
Proposed expansions 16.25 24 (’08) 7 (’05)
Proposed limitations 3 6 (’03) (’09) 0 (’05)

Gov. Rick Snyder, 2011

Proposed expansions: 9

Proposed limitations: 3

Proposed 2011 Expansions

  1. Replace Michigan Business Tax with 6 percent net corporate income tax.
  2. “Build a system” that encourages annual physicals for every person and promotes healthier lifestyles.
  3. Use a statewide network to connect businesses with job seekers.
  4. Offer a statewide job posting service for companies that expand, locate or start a business in Michigan.
  5. Create an Office of Urban Initiatives.
  6. A new initiative to encourage immigration for people holding advanced college degrees.
  7. Lift restrictions on 21st Century Jobs Fund activities.
  8. Increase Pure Michigan funding.
  9. Support a new taxpayer-funded bridge between Detroit and Windsor.


  1. Stop efforts to create regulations on ergonomic standards.
  2. Eliminate the “item pricing” law.
  3. Eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and its surcharge.

*These tallies are not based on exact science. Some decisions require judgment calls based on the highly nuanced language of these addresses.

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