In 2010, Michigan was suffering from the policies of the Lost Decade. Poor decisions of the past made our state less competitive and decimated our economy. The unemployment rate was double digits and among the highest in the nation.
My overarching goal as a candidate for governor was to improve the culture of state government and reinvent Michigan to create more and better jobs. One area that was holding Michigan back was our tax system, and for my lieutenant governor, I wanted a partner who knew how to reform our tax system to help Michigan create jobs.
When I got to know Brian Calley in 2010, I quickly knew I had found an individual who was smart, collaborative and genuinely had the best interests of Michigan residents at heart.
In his very first term in the state Legislature, despite serving in the minority party, Calley worked hard to protect small businesses from the Michigan Business Tax. Because of his efforts, nearly 70 percent of small businesses in our state either didn’t have to file the MBT or were able to claim a tax credit to reduce their overall burden. For that reason, he was the first freshman legislator ever to be awarded legislator of the year by the Small Business Association of Michigan.
My first priority when I became governor was to put in place tax reforms that would be simple, fair and efficient. They also needed to be competitive for businesses while maintaining revenues to pay for critical services. Calley took a leadership role in working with our legislative partners to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and put in its place a much more competitive Corporate Income Tax. With Calley’s leadership, we implemented a simple, fair and efficient tax system that didn’t pick winners and losers. We made Michigan into one of the most competitive places to do business in the nation. Scrapping the MBT and instituting this new tax system put Michigan on the path to our tremendous comeback.
Recently, misinformation about these tax reforms in our state has been spreading. So let me be clear about one thing — Michigan’s comeback hinged on the essential tax reform we implemented, and Calley was a key leader in that plan.
Michigan’s tax reform took us from being second worst to a top-10 state where more than 540,000 new private-sector jobs have been created, and we’ve seen a 17-year low in unemployment. Today, we are a leader in manufacturing job creation, and our young people are moving back to Michigan.
Indeed, taxes are not the sole reason for our state’s turnaround. We’ve also made it a priority to help our citizens get critical skills to take well-paying jobs, get state budgets done early, propel the recovery of Detroit’s comeback, and focus on paying down debt. Of course, a renewed sense of confidence from residents and the business community keep the positive momentum going forward.
Our comeback didn’t happen by accident.
Brian Calley has been the best lieutenant governor in the nation, dedicating himself to reinventing Michigan alongside me every step of the way. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together during this administration, and what we will still accomplish yet this year.
Rick Snyder is the governor of Michigan.