GRAND RAPIDS — Gov. Rick Snyder’s message about the state’s ballot proposals is simple.
“Yes on 1 and no on the rest,” he said to a standing ovation Monday from the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
Snyder’s remarks focused on what he saw as the detrimental effects that five of the statewide proposals would have on Michigan’s economic development efforts.
“Momentum is precious, and right now we have it,” Snyder said. “These ballot initiatives could definitely, if they go the wrong way, stop our momentum and put this bus in reverse.”
In an interview with MiBiz, Snyder expanded on those issues he saw as most crucial to West Michigan’s success.
“Proposal 2 would be economically devastating, in my view, because what it would do is potentially wipe out several parts of the Michigan constitution and up to 170 laws,” Snyder told MiBiz. “The amount of chaos that would come … could go on for several years. During that whole time, businesses are going to be very concerned about if this is an environment to invest in, and unfortunately, it might force them to look other places.”
The Oct. 29 event was also sponsored by the West Michigan Policy Forum and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. The talk was part of Snyder’s tour of the state prior to the Nov. 6 election to campaign for Proposal 1 and against Proposals 2-6.
Snyder said having a stable, positive and unified state is one of the most valuable things that can help foster business growth, something that has been lacking in recent years. He said this lack of unification is indicated by the fact that many special interest groups are using the ballot proposals as an end-around elected officials.
“I think you’re seeing a lot (of proposals) because we’re making such positive progress. So, you’re finding that there are a lot of special interests trying to go around the Legislature to protect themselves at our citizens’ expense,” Snyder told MiBiz.
Aside from the special interest groups’ abuse of the ballot proposal process, Snyder said the method of signature-gathering to get an issue on the ballot may also be in need of reform.
“Are there reforms we should be looking at in terms of … petition circulators that are getting essentially paid a bounty per signature, and what might they be saying to citizens to get that signature? That is a concern,” he said.
Though he sees the proliferation of ballot proposals as a sign that the state continues to be fractured, Snyder is optimistic that, if all goes well in the November elections, Michigan will continue on its upward course.
“We’re the comeback state right now; we’re going well. We’ve still got a lot more work to do, but we don’t want to derail the good things that are going on,” Snyder said.