The top race, like most mid-term elections, is the gubernatorial race.
This year is even more important since our current governor, Jennifer Granholm, is termed out and cannot seek re-election. Democratic Mayor of Lansing, Virg Bernero, and Republican businessman, Rick Snyder, are both vying for the state’s top executive position. Bernero is running on his experience as a past state legislator and current position as mayor. Snyder is using his clout as a CEO and venture capitalist that he made millions of dollars as the head of big companies, which thus makes him qualified to run the state of Michigan. Snyder is making this quantum leap connection because he believes government should be run as a business, but mind you he has never held an elected office before.
Both Bernero and Snyder agree that the No. 1 issue in this election is the economy/jobs, but both have significantly different plans on what the road to recovery looks like. Bernero believes the first step to economic recovery is thawing the credit crunch inhibiting small businesses from obtaining necessary loans. One way to accomplish this is through the development of a “State Bank” that would give loans to facilitate the start-up of new businesses.
Bernero and Snyder both agree the Michigan Business Tax needs to be axed along with the 22 percent surcharge. The Lansing mayor thinks it should be replaced with a new corporate tax that will provide a more stable tax structure that rewards companies that create jobs and re-invest in Michigan. He will not raise taxes on small businesses since they are the economic driver and real job creator of our economy.
With the exodus of many manufacturing jobs over the past decade, we have all seen the abandoned factories that were once a major driver to our state’s economy. Bernero believes there is no point in continuously looking at the past with teary eyes. We need to embrace our past and use this to help bring new manufacturing jobs to Michigan to produce products such as electric car batteries, wind turbines, and other hi-tech green industries.
With Bernero’s “Make it in Michigan for Free” program, new manufacturing companies could move into the old factories that have been rehabilitated through this program. These new companies would also receive tax abatements from the state for up to 12 years. Unlike cutting taxes and just hoping businesses decide to set up shop in Michigan, Bernero’s strategy is very aggressive in putting our large blue-collar workforce back on the job again.
As students of higher education, we are all concerned with the ever-rising cost of tuition. Over the past decade, we have seen a substantial increase in tuition each year as the state cuts more and more funding to Ferris. Under a Bernero administration, universities would be able to count on a stable and predictable stream of revenue from the state rather than waiting last-minute to see what the legislature plugs into the budget to fill the gap. He is also in favor of restoring the wildly popular Michigan Promise Scholarship that was rescinded by the Republican legislature last year.
I support Virg Bernero because I believe he has a proven record as the Mayor of Lansing and a past state legislator. I also believe the government should not be run like a business because the goal of the government is not to make a profit, but rather to help people by providing protection and essential services. n