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Detroit Regional Chamber Hosts Governor for State of the State Address to the Business Community

DETROIT, January 20, 2012 – In its continued effort to promote collaboration and drive economic development, the Detroit Regional Chamber again partnered with Governor Rick Snyder to increase  dialogue between the public and private sectors. With approximately 275 area business and community leaders attending the members-only event, the Governor presented a State of the State Address to the Business Community at the MGM Grand Detroit.

Following the address, the audience submitted questions to the Governor as part of a question-and-answer session moderated by Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah. The event came nearly eight months after the 2011 Mackinac Policy Conference during which the Governor appeared on stage multiple times throughout the three days.

“From our budget, to our tax code, to the structure of government, to our approach to economic development, to the image of Michigan in the international marketplace, our Governor has successfully implemented change,” Baruah said as he introduced the Governor.

Following Baruah’s remarks the Governor addressed the crowd, discussing the progress Michigan had made over the past year and laying out his plan for the upcoming year during the hour-long event, which was sponsored by Munder Capital Management.

As he did in the State of the State Address to the Legislature Wednesday night, the Governor reiterated his intention to make the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) a reality. He called for more vocal support from the business community for the NITC.

“The bottom line with the bridge is about international trade and jobs,” said Snyder, who re-emphasized that the bridge would not be paid for by Michigan tax dollars despite what special interests have argued in the media.

“We should build the bridge, and that’s where I need you – to speak up,” Snyder said when posed a question about what the business community could do to support the NITC.

The Governor also stressed the importance of an increased statewide investment in transportation infrastructure, particularly road and bridges, to the economic health of the state.

“It’s time for a Southeast Michigan regional transportation system – let’s get something done,” Snyder said.

He stressed that too often discussions about transportation legislation take a short-term approach that faisl to produce the results Michigan needs, leaving the next generation to address the problem.

In explaining his vision for Michigan, the Governor said the state has a great opportunity to move forward by continuing to adopt the mantra of “relentless positive action.” He cited the repeal of the onerous Michigan Business Tax as an example of a major stride the state made over the past year.

Highlighting talent development as another crucial factor in Michigan’s ability to compete globally and attract businesses to Michigan, Snyder also said he’s looking forward to increasing efforts to better align students and education with careers that are in demand.

“(In the past) It’s about career planning,” he said, emphasizing there’s a need to help students get a clearer picture of all careers that are available.

“We didn’t give our kids the tools to understand where most of the jobs are. We need to fix that,” he added.

As part of his address, the Governor also said he was going to look at reforming the personal property tax, with a focus on industrial equipment. Other key topics included education reform, right-sizing governments and obesity.