Senate Democrats Criticize Snyder's Empty Promises, Call for Real Action on Education and Job Creation

LANSING – The Michigan Senate Democrats called for real action on the pressing issues facing Michigan tonight following Governor Snyder's annual self-aggrandizing State of the State speech.

“Governor Snyder's track record from his State of the State speeches is one of broken promises and unfulfilled plans. We only need to look back to his first address to the state in which he said ‘job one is jobs,’ yet three years later, Michigan has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation. Meanwhile, he's slashed unemployment benefits and made it harder for countless Michiganders to get back to work,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. “I was hoping to hear the Governor talk tonight about the real reinvestments in our families and our schools that are needed to get Michigan back on track, but instead it was simply more of the same.”

In Governor Snyder's State of the State speech tonight, he highlighted his so-called victories of the past year, including the budget “surplus” that has been accumulated in part through cutting school funding more than $400 per pupil in recent years and raising taxes on Michigan seniors. Snyder again championed his failing education plan and also failed to offer any resolution to the many schools that are struggling with overcrowded classrooms and dwindling classroom resources and are even being forced to close their doors for good.

“It was disappointing to hear the Governor brag of a supposed budget ‘surplus’ which, in reality, is nothing more than the money the Governor and the Republican-led Legislature have embezzled from our public schools, our working families and our retired seniors living on fixed incomes,” added Whitmer. “It's a slap in the face to the working families in Michigan whose taxes have gone up significantly over the past three years to hear the Governor boast of fiscal responsibility when he's balanced the budget squarely on their backs while giving billions away to those at the top.”

The Governor's lack of a strong economic agenda was again painfully apparent tonight, as he offered no real proposals to get Michigan residents back to work. Governor Snyder said in his first State of the State that “Job one is jobs,” but after he and legislative Republicans have cut billions in taxes for wealthy corporations, watered down state regulations and shoved through Right to Work and other anti-worker policies during his tenure, Michigan's unemployment rate is still the second highest in the nation.

The Senate Democrats made available copies of tax returns filed by a median wage earner in Michigan that show a family that would have owed $38 in taxes in 2011 owed $1,476 in 2013 due directly to the tax changes pushed by the Snyder Administration. They also made available copies of tax returns filed by a retired teacher couple living off of an average pension of $20,316 each. The couple would have received a tax refund of $709 in 2011, and in 2013 owed $682, for a total tax increase of $1,391. Whitmer pointed out that any supposed tax relief offered by the Governor and his Republican allies this year was little more than election year pandering and would pale in comparison to the tax hikes they've already established on Michigan families.

For more of the Senate Democrats' response to the Governor's 2014 State of the State address, please click on the links below to hear audio statements from a Senator near you on the Governor's speech.