Live coverage: Gov. Rick Snyder visits Jackson
3:59
Brian Wheeler: 
Good afternoon! I'm in the atrium of Consumers Energy's headquarters in Jackson. There's a full crowd of employees — 100? 200? — waiting for Gov. Rick Snyder to appear.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 3:59 Brian Wheeler
4:00
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder will be speaking about the six proposals on next week's ballot statewide. We know where he stands — "yes" on Proposal 1, "no" on the rest. But he's making this stop in Jackson as he continues to rally support for others to vote his way.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:00 Brian Wheeler
4:01
Brian Wheeler: 
As we wait — and they just lowered the music, so I think we're close — here's a link to an interview Snyder did with MLive reporters Monday. Five of the six proposals, he says, would be "economically devastating" if they pass:
http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/10/q_and_a_with_gov_rick_snyder_5.html
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:01 Brian Wheeler
4:02
Brian Wheeler: 
What are your thoughts on the proposals? Feel free to share them here, and I'll pass them along. I'm not planning to ask questions of the governor, but it'd be interesting to see where readers stand on these proposals. Here's a question, too: Is Snyder able to change your mind?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:02 Brian Wheeler
4:04
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder has just taken the stage to applause, being welcomed by Consumers Energy CEO John Russell. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley also is on stage.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:04 Brian Wheeler
4:05
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder last visited Consumers Energy over the summer, as the energy utility trumpeted plans for new company, HCL Technologies, that was coming to downtown Jackson.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:05 Brian Wheeler
4:05
Brian Wheeler: 
Russell notes that Consumers Energy opposes Proposal 3, the "25 by 2025" green energy proposal. The company has no stance on the other proposals.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:05 Brian Wheeler
4:06
Brian Wheeler: 
Calley takes the microphone, noting the "special interest groups that are trying to use our constitution as a venue to take us back."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:06 Brian Wheeler
4:07
Brian Wheeler: 
Calley calls the state constitution a "sacred document."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:07 Brian Wheeler
4:07
Brian Wheeler: 
Roy Norton, the consul general of Canada, is here. He and fellow Canadians, I presume, oppose Proposal 6. They want the bridge to Canada.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:07 Brian Wheeler
4:08
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder takes his turn, standing next to the podium.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:08 Brian Wheeler
4:09
Brian Wheeler: 
"In terms of the ballot proposals, yeah, we've got a bus tour going ... 'Yes on 1, no on the rest' bus."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:09 Brian Wheeler
4:09
Brian Wheeler: 
"A couple years ago, we were a broken state. .... We're the comeback state in the United States today, on many metrics." Interrupted by applause.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:09 Brian Wheeler
4:09
[Comment From Matt NomreyMatt Nomrey: ] 
question about prop 3: what does the 1% max increase per year do? does it say customer bills can not increase by more than 1% as a result of renewable power? or the utility rate of return can not increase by more than 1% per year?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:09 Matt Nomrey
4:10
Brian Wheeler: 
Matt, my understanding is that the proposal keeps utilities from raising rates — because of meeting the renewable power mandate — to 1 percent a year.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:10 Brian Wheeler
4:10
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder is talking big about "a Michigan, where living in Jackson, you can watch your grandkids growing up and knowing they're going to have a job."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:10 Brian Wheeler
4:11
Brian Wheeler: 
"We've asked for a lot of change from a lot of people. ... Everybody likes change until it actually comes! ... A lot of us have gotten on board because we see they're making a positive difference."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:11 Brian Wheeler
4:12
Brian Wheeler: 
"The issue is: Some people haven't gotten on board." Special interests resist change. "That's not a good answer. ... The right answer is they should vote for people, if they don't like the answer, to vote for them."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:12 Brian Wheeler
4:12
Brian Wheeler: 
"A whole bunch of groups" want to go around the legislative system.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:12 Brian Wheeler
4:13
Brian Wheeler: 
"We're on the path to reinvention. Let's keep going. ... I got out of school in 1982, and Michigan was in a depression environment then." Then things picked up "and we kept on doing the same dumb things that we've been doing for a very long time."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:13 Brian Wheeler
4:14
Brian Wheeler: 
"We created a mess, where if you look at the trend line, we've been going downhill from the 1960s to 2011." That' why we elected Snyder, "to solve the issues and to move forward as a team with relentless positive action."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:14 Brian Wheeler
4:14
Brian Wheeler: 
Proposals would "derail that comeback."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:14 Brian Wheeler
4:15
[Comment From Matt NomreyMatt Nomrey: ] 
I still don't understand that part of the proposal. A utility's rate of return would never increase by more than 1% in a year, the MPSC would never allow that large of an increase on the rate of return. If the are talking about the amount of a customer's bill can not increase by more than 1% as a result of renewable power, that is impossible when you factor in inflation and the higher costs of renewable power.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:15 Matt Nomrey
4:15
Brian Wheeler: 
Matt, I think it's a safe bet that if Proposal 3 passes, we will see some of these issues be resolved in the courts.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:15 Brian Wheeler
4:16
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder wants folks to listen to him and then to spread the word about the proposals. Now, he's going to take questions from this audience.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:16 Brian Wheeler
4:16
Brian Wheeler: 
Throughout our coverage, feel free to share your thoughts on the governor's statements.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:16 Brian Wheeler
4:16
Brian Wheeler: 
First question: What laws will change if Proposal 2 passes?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:16 Brian Wheeler
4:17
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder says teacher tenure laws that were recently passed would be affected. "The whole question of seniority, in terms of deciding the positions of teachers."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:17 Brian Wheeler
4:18
Brian Wheeler: 
Some 170 laws dating back to the 1960s would be affected. "Collective bargaining is not the issue. I believe in collective bargaining. ... It's an important part of who we are. ... What this proposal is, is a massive overreach."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:18 Brian Wheeler
4:19
Brian Wheeler: 
"This would be the most economically devastating proposal of all, if it passes." Think of the litigation that would follow, and then the "thousands of issues" that would be renegotiated in public labor contracts. Costs would then go up by $1 billion or more.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:19 Brian Wheeler
4:19
Brian Wheeler: 
"if you are a job creator in Michigan, are you confident about the state and what would be going on?"
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:19 Brian Wheeler
4:20
Brian Wheeler: 
Questions from employees have been submitted in advance and are being read by David Mengebier, a senior Consumers Energy official.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:20 Brian Wheeler
4:21
Brian Wheeler: 
The next question is about Proposal 6, which would derail Snyder's plans for a second bridge to Canada.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:21 Brian Wheeler
4:21
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder: "How many people have ever voted for a bridge?"
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:21 Brian Wheeler
4:21
Brian Wheeler: 
"We've got a system where we don't vote for this because the system works, so why are we voting on this?" The answer: The Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:21 Brian Wheeler
4:22
Brian Wheeler: 
The only accurate part of the pro-Proposal 6 ads? "Yes, there is a bridge and there is a state of Michigan!" (laughter)
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:22 Brian Wheeler
4:23
Brian Wheeler: 
Michigan won't pay for second bridge, Snyder says. Canada has been "a great partner" on this, advancing the funds and waiting for them to be repaid via tolls.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:23 Brian Wheeler
4:24
Brian Wheeler: 
"They like to talk about how there's going to be Chinese steel. There's no Chinese steel that's going to be involved in this project!" Another example of advertising deception. Steel would come from U.S. and Canada.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:24 Brian Wheeler
4:24
Brian Wheeler: 
Some 237,000 Michigan residents work in construction trades (5 percent of workforce in Michigan), and this would add tens of thousands of jobs.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:24 Brian Wheeler
4:25
Brian Wheeler: 
Next question is why Proposal 5 — which requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes — is bad.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:25 Brian Wheeler
4:25
Brian Wheeler: 
"It could address tax increases, but it could mess up our ability to do tax reform" or even lower taxes.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:25 Brian Wheeler
4:26
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder points to much-reviled Michigan Business Tax, which he and Legislature eliminated and replaced with a 6 percent corporate income tax. "If this provision had been in the Michigan Constitution in 2010, we'd still have the Michigan Business Tax today."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:26 Brian Wheeler
4:27
Brian Wheeler: 
"if we do this, it could give special interests a new power." They could get together as a block to wield power over the Legislature.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:27 Brian Wheeler
4:27
[Comment From Dave StyczynskiDave Styczynski: ] 
Don't you believe proposal 5 would force bi-partisan government and stop some of the political warfare?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:27 Dave Styczynski
4:27
Brian Wheeler: 
Dave, thus far, I'd say Snyder says no!
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:27 Brian Wheeler
4:27
Brian Wheeler: 
Next question: Why "yes" on Prop 1 but "no" on the rest?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:27 Brian Wheeler
4:28
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder is offering a little history about the emergency financial law, which he and lawmakers changed. The old law, not the new version, would take effect again with a "no" vote on Proposal 1.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:28 Brian Wheeler
4:29
Brian Wheeler: 
There are 500+ school districts, 2,000+ local governments. How many emergency managers today? Eight, Snyder says.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:29 Brian Wheeler
4:30
Brian Wheeler: 
"This law is working. It is making a positive difference in these communities."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:30 Brian Wheeler
4:30
Brian Wheeler: 
Emergency managers "work for me, and I work for you ... and I take that as a very deep and personal responsibility, so (communities with managers) do have representation."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:30 Brian Wheeler
4:31
Brian Wheeler: 
A Proposal 3 question for the governor: Shouldn't the renewable energy standard be raised above 10 percent?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:31 Brian Wheeler
4:32
Brian Wheeler: 
Ads touting Prop 3 show maps of states with renewable standards, but it doesn't show Michigan! "They also don't tell you those other states don't put it in their constitutions. That's a terrible idea! That's not a bad idea, but a terrible idea!"
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:32 Brian Wheeler
4:33
Brian Wheeler: 
Putting it in constitution "is like building a house on a foundation of sand because we don't know what federal energy policy is going to be." He also calls it "crazy."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:33 Brian Wheeler
4:33
Brian Wheeler: 
"A lot of big-money people put a lot of big money behind this because they want to sell renewable energy." First, let's look at using less energy.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:33 Brian Wheeler
4:34
Brian Wheeler: 
Proposal 3: "There's not one mention of efficiency. ... Is this really about someone making a bunch of money? Is this about a special interest putting something in our constitution." Employees applaud.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:34 Brian Wheeler
4:34
[Comment From Curtis WatsonCurtis Watson: ] 
In response to Dave Styczynski; Prop 5 would tie the hands of our lawmakers. There are many bills that lower a certain tax but raise a different one, when the result is a lower tax overall. A bill like that would have to be split into many different pieces and may force gridlock.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:34 Curtis Watson
4:35
Brian Wheeler: 
To add to Curtis' observation, it appears Snyder is asking people to trust him and lawmakers to work in the public's good, not to rely on constitutional changes to reach certain policy goals.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:35 Brian Wheeler
4:36
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder is now answering a question about the money that goes into collecting signatures. He's wondering if there should be reforms to petition circulation process.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:36 Brian Wheeler
4:36
Brian Wheeler: 
Now, a question about Proposal 4 (home health care)
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:36 Brian Wheeler
4:37
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder says the advertising is deceiving. Most home health-care workers are family members, "and they don't make a lot of money, so they were classified as state employees who were union workers." Snyder and Co. passed law to discontinue process, he says.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:37 Brian Wheeler
4:38
Brian Wheeler: 
"We care a lot about the elderly and the disabled. I'm proud to say we're focused on that." Last year, passed 10-bill package on elder abuse.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:38 Brian Wheeler
4:39
Brian Wheeler: 
"This is a personal thing for me, about home health care." His parents are dead, but his mother once had home health-care worker. That person stole his mother's checks and forged signatures. "This is something that we care about, the elderly and the disabled. This whole thing on 4 isn't addressing that."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:39 Brian Wheeler
4:40
Brian Wheeler: 
Question about Snyder reaching the two-year mark. What are the top two or three things he's most proud of?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:40 Brian Wheeler
4:41
Brian Wheeler: 
He points to politics in Washington. No budget. No tax reform. "You come to today, and we're (Michigan) the role model for what Washington needs to do."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:41 Brian Wheeler
4:41
Brian Wheeler: 
Getting rid of 13 regulations for every one that is added.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:41 Brian Wheeler
4:42
Brian Wheeler: 
Also proud of how Michigan is doing things. "This is about Michiganders finally getting their act together. ... The thing we have going now is this is about being positive. ... This is all working, but we're not done yet. This is a fragile thing."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:42 Brian Wheeler
4:43
Brian Wheeler: 
Proposals are a "counter-offensive" by special interests. "I am passionate about this stuff and fired up."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:43 Brian Wheeler
4:43
Brian Wheeler: 
How does governor look at energy policy for the next couple of years?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:43 Brian Wheeler
4:44
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder wonders how Michigan can build on current energy policy, including more energy efficiency, more weatherization, helping folks pay utility bills. Transmission issues. "How can we leverage some of our assets, in terms of we're a natural gas state."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:44 Brian Wheeler
4:45
Brian Wheeler: 
Energy and environment are linked together. "How do we deal with water management?"
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:45 Brian Wheeler
4:45
Brian Wheeler: 
Want to have "a louder voice" on Great Lakes, taking a leadership role to combate invasive species, for example.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:45 Brian Wheeler
4:46
Brian Wheeler: 
Last question: What are the governor's predictions for the election, specifically the presidential race?
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:46 Brian Wheeler
4:46
Brian Wheeler: 
"I think it's become closer. ... I think it really started with the presidential debate, the gap started closing." He wants both candidates to say less about the past, more about the future.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:46 Brian Wheeler
4:47
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder supports Romney because of business experience and because he was governor of Massachusetts. "The mess in Washington" is holding back the country.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:47 Brian Wheeler
4:47
Brian Wheeler: 
"I encourage you to really look at the federal races."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:47 Brian Wheeler
4:48
Brian Wheeler: 
Says Jackson County has two good representatives. Presumably, he means state Reps. Earl Poleski and Mike Shirkey. Both are up for re-election. Both are Republicans, like Snyder.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:48 Brian Wheeler
4:48
Brian Wheeler: 
Governor is wrapping up now: "This is a Team Michigan kind of thing. We're one big team. And it's really taking that approach."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:48 Brian Wheeler
4:50
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder talks about how out-of-town visitors "would be fired up" to visit ... and then they met Michigan residents. Now, he wants us to sell our state. "What's the best way to sell someone on something? It's customer referral."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:50 Brian Wheeler
4:50
Brian Wheeler: 
"Each one of us has to make a decision and decide what level of responsibility to accept, to make Michigan great again."
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:50 Brian Wheeler
4:51
Brian Wheeler: 
And vote next Tuesday, he says. I suspect most folks can agree with that, no matter their stances on the proposals.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:51 Brian Wheeler
4:51
Brian Wheeler: 
Consumers Energy CEO John Russell takes the microphone, praising Snyder for being a leader, being data-driven, taking responsibility to ballot issues. "You're on the road ... in a bus!"
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:51 Brian Wheeler
4:52
Brian Wheeler: 
"This is an example of leadership," Russell concludes.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:52 Brian Wheeler
4:52
Brian Wheeler: 
Snyder is walking out, so we're all done here. Snyder is going to take some media questions, but I'll wrap this up. Thanks to everyone for following along, and check back to mlive.com/jackson for more on the governor's appearance.
Tuesday October 30, 2012 4:52 Brian Wheeler
 
Powered by google translate
English  English
简体中文  简体中文
Dansk  Dansk
Deutsch  Deutsch
Español  Español
Français  Français
Italiano  Italiano
日本語  日本語
日本語  한국어
Nederlands  Nederlands
Norsk  Norsk
Português  Português
Русский  Русский
Svenska  Svenska
Close