As I sit here and think, it seems remarkable to me that Michigan has one of the best functioning leadership teams in the nation. Yep. Just one year ago we were seeing (thankfully) the close of one of the worst administrations in modern Michigan history, and the close of one of the most dysfunctional Legislatures ever. The tax system was a mess, budgets balanced only through gimmicks and spending of reserves, and a general feeling that our state government blew up instead of us being ‘blown away.’
Gov. Rick Snyder came into office with a clear agenda of fixing our budget mess and making a tax system that worked for job creation. He wisely tapped some decent leaders from both sides to work in his administration (Dick Posthumous and Andy Dillon). There was a whole new leadership team in both the House and Senate (both GOP this term). Big moves and changes were made. Lots of folks are upset on all sides, a good sign the Gov. was playing fair and truly making ‘shared sacrifice’ a reality. Gov. Snyder even worked all of 2011 for one dollar, and implemented cuts in pay and benefits for the executive branch.
Michigan now has a balanced TWO YEAR budget, and is generating a small surplus now. Pay and benefits for politicians have been reduced. And 2011 will be remembered for the Michigan Legislature moving at a fast pace and with bold action to address our state’s needs. When was the last time this happened!
We are moving to save our troubled cities, finally. Jobs are starting to come back bit by bit. The feeling just might be taking hold that just maybe the worst is over. Maybe the road back is before us now. This change in attitude will be a big part of Michigan’s comeback too.
Not all was perfect. GOP leadership in the Legislature failed BIG TIME and did not move the Governor’s plan to finally get the second bridge to Canada started. This is 2011’s signature failure, albeit amongst much success. Also, the end of the year move axing health benefits for domestic partners and families was a cruel sop to the religious right from certain legislators. This was a huge opportunity Gov. Snyder missed to use his veto to stand up for decency and fairness in Michigan.
Oh, there is still so much to do, and a long way to go. But man is it ever nice to see a competent, positive, and hard working Governor, with a functioning Legislature (did you notice the budget was done early, instead of having the chronic shutdown threats of the Granholm years?). Maybe…just maybe we are coming back.
Oh, and the Lions won 10 games and went to the playoffs.