LANSING — In his fourth State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder delivered a sweeping speech that focused on the state’s successes while peppering in a slew of promises for the future, including creating more opportunities for young people to connect with jobs.
The governor emphasized the need to keep talented people from abroad in Michigan. Snyder pledged to create a new office called the Michigan Office for New Americans to encourage legal immigration to the state.
The initiative could impact more than 7,000 international students at MSU who are here on temporary visas.
The governor reinforced his outlook with a plethora of economic statistics that cast Michigan’s future in a positive light, focusing on the state’s business incentives and agricultural and manufacturing industries.
“If someone has the opportunity to come to our country legally let’s hold our arms open and say ‘come to Michigan, this is the place to be,” Snyder said.
Snyder also announced his support for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution, an unusual move for a governor who usually avoids inserting himself into congressional politics.
Snyder reviewed a year in which Michigan had seen some of the most contentious policies of the Republican-controlled legislature play out across the state, from right to work legislation to the emergency manager law, but Snyder avoided discussing the more controversial portions of his tenure, and instead focused the qualities that he said made Michigan “the comeback state.”
Under the Snyder administration a $1.4 billion budget deficit has been turned into $917 million in extra revenue, and MSU felt the pain as potential funds for higher education replenished state coffers. Snyder’s first year in office brought a 15 percent cut to higher education funding that has not been returned.