GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan’s turnaround is well underway, but the state must keep pressing ahead with an agenda of positive change.
That’s the message that Dick Posthumus, senior adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder, had for West Michigan’s business leaders as he discussed the outcome of the Nov. 6 elections.
At a Turnaround Management Association of West Michigan event at Kent Country Club, Posthumus detailed how Gov. Snyder’s policies over the past two years have helped shift the direction of Michigan’s economy and how the election results will affect future policy.
Posthumus particularly focused on the future of emergency managers after the defeat of Proposal 1, a referendum on Public Act 4 that outlined the state’s use of the emergency managers. In question was how Proposal 1’s defeat would affect communities currently under management by state-appointed emergency financial managers. Posthumus said that, though Public Act 4 was repealed, the state’s previous emergency financial manager law, Public Act 72, is still in effect.
When asked if the defeat of Proposal 1 signaled that Gov. Snyder had overreached his authority, Posthumus disagreed.
“I don’t think so. In fact, it was such a close election that I think, had it not been for the huge negative reaction to the other five other proposals ... it would have passed,” Posthumus said in an interview with MiBiz.
Posthumus did say that it is likely that Snyder would take some of the opposition’s arguments into consideration while crafting future statutes.
“There were issues raised that he (Gov. Snyder) still wants to respond to, like the question of are we taking too much authority away from the local authorities and making decisions relative to financial emergencies,” Posthumus said. “We’re looking at dealing with that in a new statute that would take some of those things into account.”
This consideration is inline with what Posthumus labeled as Snyder’s policy of inclusivity in his policies. This includes both bipartisan approaches toward legislation and policy decisions as well as policies toward immigrants.
“I think he has been one of the more inclusive Republican governors in the country over the past two years, and he wants to continue that,” Posthumus said. “He’d like to see that adopted by more Republican governors throughout the country.”
As far as future public policy that Snyder is going to push during the second half of his term as governor, Posthumus said that the two main objectives are reforming the personal property tax (PPT) and reducing unnecessary regulation. Posthumus said that the PPT, especially on equipment that companies own, has made Michigan less competitive as a state for attracting new manufacturing jobs.
He also said that much of the regulation that the state enacted serves to create bureaucracy instead of protecting the public and workers.
Other goals Posthumus mentioned included ensuring the future of Michigan’s energy sector and setting up a state-run health insurance exchange instead of allowing the federal government to administer Michigan’s exchange.