There had to have been a lot of anticipation in the audience as Gov. Rick Snyder gave his 2013 State of the State address Wednesday evening. We came away from the occasion wondering if the expectations were largely in vain.
This was to be about the sate of the state. We got an admirable picture of where we’ve been and what part of the relentless positivity has been achieved. Only we in Michigan always want to know not just what have you done for us lately, but where do we go from here?
Virtually nothing was said about Detroit. We are constantly told about Detroit and its importance to our future, but what’s the future of Detroit? We would like to think about Detroit as the recovering auto capital of the world. We all want Detroit to succeed.
But for too long we’ve heard Detroit is either unable or unwilling to embrace needed change. What about it, governor?
Another issue on the minds of many Michigan citizens has to do with education and how it will be funded. Perhaps the good news here is some highly controversial pending legislation was not on the immediate agenda, indicating … we hope … state government will be taking some time in deciding how to proceed. Snyder did allude to increased funding for early education, which should be acceptable for most folks.
The governor called for taxes to build or repair roads and bridges, changing fuel taxes from cents per gallon to a wholesale percentage tax, and adding to vehicle registration fees. What we didn’t hear is how the biggest long-haul trucks will pay their share of the new funding. Do the interstate trucks purchase their fuel in Michigan? We take no issue with added funding for rebuilding roads. We need it. But consider the wear, tear and traffic on I-96 and I-94 routes from Muskegon to Windsor and Benton Harbor to Detroit. They are in a different category than state routes from lower Michigan to the Upper Peninsula. Should those heavy-hauler routes become toll roads?
Rainy day funds, which the governor says are growing, could evaporate quickly in light of our state’s short- and long-term liabilities and some threatened “getting even” politics in Lansing. The state’s new fiscal budget is yet to come. Whatever, we do feel this state is getting things done in good hands with a tough nerd CPA. The 1950s were prosperous times for Michigan, but in a 2013 world economy, many policies of the past should be in the rear view mirror.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.