Gov. Rick Snyder has hammered hard at his description of Michigan as the "comeback state" in the opening minutes of his annual State of the State address.
Snyder told legislators at the Capitol on Thursday night that Michigan's economy has come a long way from the dark days of the Great Recession.
Trotting out a list of economic statistics, Snyder says Michigan's auto industry has doubled output since 2009 and is at the highest level since 2005.
He says that home sales, prices and new construction are rising and a population decline has reversed.
Snyder says the size of Michigan's labor force is growing for the first time in years as well, and the number of people moving out is in balance with the number moving in.
Snyder also says Michigan is making progress in fighting blight and crime in some of its hardest hit central cities and says the push will continue. Snyder says he was upset to see four Michigan cities ranked among the nation's most violent after taking office in 2011. He says that spurred his Secure Cities program, focused on public safety in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw.
He says all four cities report year-to-year drops in crime through late 2013. Snyder says credit goes to a collaboration of state and local police, sheriffs, prosecutors and judges. He also says Michigan benefited from $100 million in federal demolition aid and from Detroit Democratic state Sen. Virgil Smith's anti-blight legislation.
Snyder also announced plans to attract immigrants and foreign investment to Michigan. Snyder will issue an executive order creating the Office for New Americans, joining two other states with immigration services consolidated in the governor's office. His administration also seeks to make Michigan the second state running a regional visa center to attract talented immigrant entrepreneurs.
He's again requesting more road and bridge spending and completion of legislation designed to crack down on scrap metal theft.
Governor Snyder says he wants to avoid "playing politics" with Michigan's projected $1.3 billion budget surplus over two fiscal years, using it for a combination of spending on long-term needs like retirement funding and a rainy day fund and tax relief for working residents.
Snyder made the statement in his annual State of the State address Thursday night at the Michigan Capitol. It was the final state of the state of the governor's first term.
He said lawmakers should look at deferred public needs and as well as the financial assistance for taxpayers.
Snyder said areas that could use funding include future state employee retirement costs and the state's rainy day fund, which evens out revenue in hard times.
He also said working people face many personal financial challenges, and tax cuts aimed at them could ease their lives a bit.
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