Our state has come a long way over the last few years. State government finances are more stable. Changes to our tax system have reduced the burden for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Long-term debt has been reduced. Unnecessary regulations have been eliminated.
We've made great gains. Our state is performing better but what was necessary then is not what is needed now - if we are to make MI a Top Ten state with more jobs and higher incomes.
Michigan leaders know two crucial areas of investment are needed--people and infrastructure. We need to make sure our people have the tools they need to succeed, and that our roads and bridges are safe for everyday travel and have the capacity to move our products and services to market.
We begin-first, last, and always-with the people of our great state. There needs to be more investment in educational programs Michiganders need to be successful. Our young people need more than a high school education to succeed. Yet, our state spends more to house prison inmates than it does to help a kid get through college. We can do better. And additional job training opportunities would help many talented, displaced workers re-enter the workforce and fill the 70,000+ open jobs that exist today.
For Michigan to continue to grow, we need to develop a skilled, educated workforce that is capable of meeting the demands of employers today, tomorrow, and even a decade from now. At the same time, we need to fundamentally retool our state's transportation infrastructure. Michigan's roads and bridges need to function as more than a humorous punchline; they need to be capable of supporting our growing economy.
State policymakers have shown tremendous foresight in adopting a comprehensive road funding solution. Voters will have an opportunity to approve this solution this spring, connecting Michigan to the resources and tools necessary to be an economic powerhouse once more.
Please join us, our colleagues, neighbors and communities as we rally around these strategies for growth in 2015. Michigan's future prosperity depends on it.