Michigan State Of The State Address: Snyder Expected To Talk Jobs (UPDATED)
UPDATE 8:05 PM -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave his "State of the State" address from the Capitol in Lansing Wednesday night.
He covered a range of topics, but shied away from speaking in specifics about Detroit. Mayor Dave Bing attended the address, and Snyder called for the mayor to stand up, evoking a standing ovation from the legislators and guests at the Capitol.
"Having a thriving, growing Detroit is critical to all of us," Snyder said. "Detroit has many exciting developments going on. Resolving the city's financial challenges would clear the path to a bright future."
Snyder did not mention how those financial problems might be solved, but immediately before introducing Bing, he spoke of his belief in the effectiveness of emergency managers. Detroit is currently under a state financial review, and Snyder could appoint an emergency manager to run the struggling city.
In all, the governor used the word "Detroit" six times in his speech. He mentioned the city's high violent crime rate as a lowlight, but praised the efforts of the city and Wayne County Port Authority and the automotive industry. He also spoke of the need to push for a regional transit system in Southeast Michigan, again advocating a bus rapid transit (BRT) plan.
Snyder gave a brief preview of the evening's remarks in a YouTube video posted earlier on Wednesday:
Snyder's speech was expected to focus on jobs and the status of Michigan's economy. The state unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent in December, a fact the governor applauded, but under-employment remains high.
Snyder ran for governor on economic issues, though his positions on social policy have increasingly come to the fore.
Protesters took over the Capitol steps at noon to show their support for LGBT issues and express their disapproval of a new ban on domestic partner benefits for state employees.
Equality Michigan, the state's largest LGBT advocacy group, slammed Snyder after the speech.
"He has surrendered to right-wing special interest money and made it even more difficult for gay and transgender residents to build prosperous lives here," said the group's communication director, Michael Gregor, in a release.
Michigan Democrats were also disappointed in the State of the State.
"The people of Michigan are expecting real solutions to very real problems, and other than blindly handing tax dollars over to corporate interests, [Snyder] doesn't seem to have any," said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer.
In his address, Snyder praised the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax and called for striking the state's personal property tax.
What do you think of Snyder's first year in office? Is Michigan heading in the right direction? Let us know in the comments, and check out a roundup of the funniest Twitter reactions to the governor's speech below.