LANSING (WWJ) - Looking back over a year of sweeping changes, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says in 2012 he wants to focus on completing projects he says will transform Michigan.
"We're getting it right, and we're getting it done," said Snyder.
In his second State of the State address, Snyder highlighted what he described as several "key measures" that serve as a barometer for how the state is progressing, beginning with the economy and unemployment.
Hear Gov. Snyder's Full Address:
State of the State
"Our unemployment in the last 12 months has dropped from 11.1 percent to 9.3 percent," said Snyder, to a round of applause. "In November we dropped below 10 percent for the first time in three years. In fact, we added nearly 80,000 private sector jobs during 2011 and ... those jobs have been higher-paying."
Snyder called for consolidating gains made last year.
Among those 2011 accomplishments, said Snyder, were the elimination of the "stupid" Michigan Business Tax. He said Michigan made the first deposit in Michigan's rainy-day fund since 2004. He also cited teacher tenure reform and the removal of the cap on charter schools.
"Let's not let special interests hold us back ... We cannot afford to slow down," Snyder said. "It's not about big government or small government. It's about good government," he said. "It's about government doing the right things for the right reasons."
"We cannot afford to lose momentum. Must maintain sense of urgency ... It is time for the Era of Innovation -- Michigan 3.0," he said.
When it came to the Emergency Manager law and the current budget crisis in Detroit, the Governor was short on specifics, saying only that a city in a financial crisis simply can't pay the bills and the new law "is helping."
Snyder said it's important to all Michiganders to understand that having a "thriving, growing Detroit is critical to all of us," and he is focused on what's ahead.
"Detroit has many exciting developments going on, and solving the city's financial challenging would clear the path to a bright future," he said.
On another controversial topic, the governor renewed his support for a plan to build a second international bridge in Detroit.
Snyder said the International Trade Crossing is "jobs issue," reiterating what he's promised before -- that new span could be built without state taxpayer money.
He also commented on the great strides being made by the Big 3.
"The automotive industry has made a major comeback. Last week I was at the North American Auto Show and I was proud to say that Detroit is still the undisputed auto capital of the world," Snyder said.
He touched on the the need for a transportation system, the fight against obesity, the fight against elder abuse, the need for improved college readiness amongst our children, and the need to reduce crime on our streets.
"We have four or the most violent cities in the United States," said Snyder -- those being Detroit, Pontiac, Flint and Saginaw. Snyder said he will deliver a special message coming up that will focus on an increase in law enforcement, major improvement in how our state's criminal justice system operates and a job component.
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