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Posted on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 6 a.m.

More from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on film incentives, MEDC, social media, Detroit

By Nathan Bomey

Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his first State of the State address Wednesday in Lansing. The Republican is expected to deliver more details on how he plans to advance his political agenda, including ways to eliminate Michigan's chronic budget deficit.

Snyder told in an interview published Sunday that he plans to focus his efforts to cut state employee costs mostly on benefits and that he plans to push for education reform in the first half of the year.

Rick Snyder in office 3.JPG

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Lon Horwedel |

Here are more excerpts from the interview, including a discussion about the state's economic development strategies, the controversial film industry tax incentives and a timeline for revitalizing Detroit. You recruited Mike Finney to lead the Michigan Economic Development Corp.. What changes do you think we’ll start to see at MEDC as Mike takes the reins there?

Snyder: Mike’s got such a fabulous track record, and as people in our community know, he’s done such a great job with economic development.

I’m excited to get that leadership up in Lansing, because it’s an opportunity to take a lot of the wonderful things at SPARK - such as the talent networking, some of the more innovative things on how to do business acceleration - all those features that hopefully now we can take statewide.

We’ll still want the regional people to do the work. I want Ann Arbor SPARK to be very successful.

But the MEDC can be a great clearinghouse, a best practice center and a coordinator between the various regions of our state, and we can all learn from one another. The film credits in particular have been very polarizing. But a recent poll showed people do tend to like them. When Christopher Nolan says he’s going to consider filming The Dark Knight sequel in Detroit, people get excited, and it makes it harder to pull the incentives away. Are you concerned that the film credits are here to stay? You’ve said we should consider changing something there.

Snyder: We will have a dialogue with people in the film industry to be more financially efficient. If it was simply out-of-state people, it would be a different story.

But we have people that have made investments and built studios and done things like that. I want to give them an opportunity to succeed given the capital investments they’ve made.

But I believe there should be opportunities to be more efficient than we are today on how we manage that program. You’ve always wanted to revitalize Michigan’s culture and encourage people to be positive and entrepreneurial. How do you expect to approach that?

Snyder: By doing things. It’s to continue the communication we’ve done. One thing I’m happy with is we actually helped raise people’s expectations to be more positive through the course of the campaign and the transition.

Now I want to help deliver results to go along with that. The real key is not just what you talk about, but what you do. So I want to keep a good alignment between what we say and what we do.

By hopefully being a good role model in terms of state government overall, we can help get people fired up. This is the time, let’s go. The response has been great so far and we’re just going to stay on the gas. I call it relentless, positive action. The city of Detroit is obviously such a monumental challenge. Can we see some real change there during your first term? Or is it just too big of a challenge to make changes that quickly?

Snyder: No, we’ll see major changes in the next four years. We need to. And it’s important for the people of the city of Detroit and our entire state.

What I would say - and I always like to remind people - my role as governor is not to run the city of Detroit but to work in a collaborative fashion and be the best partner with Mayor (Dave) Bing and the city of Detroit.

And I think they’ve got a good attitude. It’s more a question of: We’re building a good relationship, how we can jump into this and support him in doing a lot of the things that need to be done to make them successful? You used social media really well during your campaign. How do you expect to use it during your governorship?

Snyder: We need to ramp that back up. With the transition, we got behind there. We’re going to use social media much like we did in the campaign as a good communications vehicle and hopefully continue to expand it.

It’s an evolving thing. It’s an exciting way to communicate with people, and people really enjoy it. We’re going to get out there and use social media as much as possible once we get through this startup phase.

I want to get the State of the State and the budget out there first, but we can spread that message with some social media stuff. So you’re saying budget is the priority over Twitter.

Snyder: I would say so yeah. Right now I would clearly go with that one. (laughs)

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

Tru2Blu76, perhaps his fingers indicate his estimation of the insightfulness and usefulness of your post.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:42 a.m.

Luv the pic of Guv. $nyder with his fingers indicating just how much he cares for the average Michiganian. 'Bout that much, eh, Rick?


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

I want a subsidy too. I'm too lazy to work and too nervous to steal. Sign me up on the dotted line for some of that free state money.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:40 a.m.

Me thinks you've got a great future in this state. Anyone able to summon the nerve and determination to grab some $$ from the Big Public Money Bucket has got all that's needed for success in the Republic of Republicans.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Hey- good news! Dear Timjbd, I am writing today with some very good news regarding our fight to stop shipments of Canadian trash into Michigan. We all remember when, in 2003, Toronto shut down its landfill and began shipping all of their trash to Michigan. For them, it was a matter of simple economics. Michigan's trash dumping charge is the lowest in the region, which turned our Great Lakes State into a magnet for garbage from Toronto and other Ontario cities. Instead of using their own landfills, Ontario cities started filling up ours. Although these dumping charges are set by the state, we took the fight to stop the trash to Congress. Legislative efforts in the U.S. House and Senate got the attention of the Canadians. In the fall of 2005, our efforts brought Ontario officials to the negotiating table and Senator Carl Levin and I hammered out an agreement that Ontario would stop sending their city trash to Michigan by the end of 2010. I am pleased to report that the agreement worked. As of December 31, 2010, Toronto and three other municipalities stopped sending their city trash to Michigan. Of all the proposed solutions to deal with Canadian trash, this is the only one that has shown a real, measurable reduction in waste coming into our state. In fact, more than 40,000 truckloads of trash would be entering Michigan each year had we not reached this agreement. Many legal experts feel that if proposed federal legislation to simply ban Canadian trash passes, it will be subject to lengthy court challenges under international laws for many years. One of the reasons our agreement has been successful is because it could not be challenged in court. Canada has always been a great neighbor and we want to thank the Ontario officials and citizens who worked with us over the last four years to honor their agreement with our state. While this is an important victory, the fight is not over. In the coming months we will turn our attention to stopping the remaining trash coming into our state from private companies that was not covered by this agreement. We won't give up until all trash trucks coming into our great state from Canada are stopped. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support for our efforts to stop Canadian trash. With your help, we have stopped approx 1.5 million tons of waste from coming into Michigan landfills every year! Sincerely, Debbie Stabenow United States Senator


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

When did Dick Snyder find the time to stop talking about cutting public employees compensation to talk about anything else. That should be the breaking news here. Private industry and big business leaders committed treason by causing this depression they need to shoulder the blame and cost in fixing it not publoc employees who deal with trying to fix/save/repair peoples lives during their work hours. Now they must also pay with their money. All of them can take a long walk off a short bridge


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Today on the daily Snyder fan page I heard vague suggestions...possibilities..Where are the specifics?


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

Are these really the most pressing concerns has for the state? Film credits? It's like you formulated questions from Snyder's own vacuous campaign material. How about asking him about the bridge to Canada situation. The Canadian gov't has offered to put up $550 million to be repaid with toll revenue. Where does Snyder stand on that? Would he prefer the toll money be kept by Matty Maroun instead of the state as it is now? How about Nestl draining the aquifer in central Michigan? How about the Canadian trash issue? What is his plan to revitalize the public schools? Is he yet another republican privatizer/raider or is he gonna help rebuild the PUBLIC schools? Even Germany has banned the German-made chemical pesticide clothianidin for use because it has been shown to wipe out honey bee populations. Michigan is covered with corn fields. Will Snyder ban this chemical or allow the Michigan honey bee population to be wiped out? C'mon guys- access may not last. You need to take better advantage of face time.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

wulver, that's all part of his "positive attitude."

rusty shackelford

Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Especially since apparently we're dead set against giving local companies any kind of leg up, as all anti-film investment people make clear.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

djm, When I asked the Michigan Secretary of State's office why we couldn't get state ID cards on-site, I got the answer that made my head spin......the licenses are made out of state. Yes. State of Michigan ID cards are NOT Made in Michigan. Well, I'm sure some other company somewhere else can do it cheaper, and with the GOP literally not able to say anything except "cut spending," what do you expect?


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

Has Snyder ever directly answered any question or set forth any specific policy? He just gives the same evasive and/or platitudinous answers.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

djm, When I asked the Michigan Secretary of State's office why we couldn't get state ID cards on-site, I got the answer that made my head spin......the licenses are made out of state. Yes. State of Michigan ID cards are NOT Made in Michigan.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:35 a.m.

Oh dear lord: we're just as screwed as we ever were. Not kidding: Michigan is dying partly because of things like this: and like out of state grocery monopolies dominating our personal spending as well as controlling a significant labor force.

michael gonyea

Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Michigan's residents seem to have [hopefully inadvertently] adopted a Detroit Lions' mentality. Losing is just the way it is. Bad luck and bad breaks will lead to inevitable failure. We're doomed. We'll never make it. Jim Schwartz, in businesslike fashion, is doing his small part to reverse this mentality. I suspect Brady Hoke will do the same at the U of M. Michigander[anians], while not in lock step on what to call ourselves, are blessed with many assets: craftsmen who design and produce world class products, fertile ground for agriculture, world class research universities, precious and increasingly valuable fresh water, and a physical beauty that belies the term rust belt state. Given policies that promote growth, Michigans future is bright. I believe Rick Snyder understands that humble, realistic positivity is the way forward. I expect his state-of-the-state to reflect that.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

"I doubt that Mr Alpha would be willing to crank up his Chinese calculator to figure that out or suggest that Mr Finney is overpaid as a public servant." Ao contraire, Pierre. Inquiring minds want to know. btw, the calc is TI.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

Snyder and his regime are well versed in Bureau-speak and business buzzwords. They go to seminars to learn how to do this. Sounds issue from their mouths but all that comes out are buzzwords and bureau-speak. Things like "I want to give them an opportunity to succeed" and "...were just going to stay on the gas. I call it relentless, positive action." People are expected to walk away and say "Wow, he's really doing something!"


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

Michael Finney get a $50,000 increase in salary over his predecessor. That doesn't sound much like belt tightening to me. Sounds more like adding a couple more holes in that belt. How many tax dollars did SPARK get to "create" those jobs? How many net jobs did SPARK create? Which begs the question how much did each of those jobs cost the taxpayers? I doubt that Mr Alpha would be willing to crank up his Chinese calculator to figure that out or suggest that Mr Finney is overpaid as a public servant.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

My hope is that our Governor is able to make the cuts needed while making Michigan government more productive through technology. When I lived in a "southern" state, often referred to as unsophisticated and backwards, I was able to go into the "DMV" to apply, test, and before I left, get my new driver's license! Here, you go in, wait ungodly amounts, go through a process that is slow at best, then leave and wait for another whole group of employees to produce a little piece of plastic...highly unproductive.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 10:13 a.m.

The feature films that my business partner and I are working pre-production right now involve shooting locations in five different Michigan counties, using local and regional resources, so it's really not all about "Ann Arbor," "Detroit," or any other single metro area at all. Only one of the major scenes is shot in a metro area; the others are small cities and towns, along with rural areas. Surely we aren't the only production company who are developing shooting schedules in diverse areas of the state; ours includes both Upper and Lower Peninsula/s.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:32 a.m.

Sincerely: thanks, that's exciting news. Good luck, we hope to see your movie out soonest.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 9:48 a.m.

You have to give this guy some time to get his feet on the ground and get some planning in place. Yes, some of his answers were a bit vague, but he's been in office only a couple of weeks! We talk about giving the new coach three or four years to get the football program turned around. How can we expect the governor to turn around an entire state in a matter of months? Focus on this statement: "The real key is not just what you talk about, but what you do. So I want to keep a good alignment between what we say and what we do." He is focused on actually doing things and not just talking about them. If you ask me, that's a good thing. So, just like we all need to get behind Hoke, we also need to get behind Snyder, and give them both some time to turn things around. I'm cautiously optimistic that both men will be able to do this.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 9:29 a.m.

Serious dialog will be easier after Wednesday... Only slightly OT: Hey Mr. Bomey: how about a regular page / section for and about entrepreneurs?


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 9:29 a.m.

"These film subsidies take money from local communities - killing local opportunities." Completely not true. The tax incentive gives the most money to productions that spend in Michigan communities, on Michigan residents and resources.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 9:12 a.m.

Give us this day our daily Snyder.....continued Recap: Snyder is excited. "Mike" is being paid by taxpayers $250,000 to run a clearinghouse. ____________ Snyder is going to talk to people in film industry. ______________ Snyder is going to revitalize culture by "doing things". _______________ Snyder reminds us he doesn't run Detroit. _______________ Snyder likes social media. I honestly wouldn't object to our Daily Snyder reports if we could read some serious questions and firm responses. The seriousness of the situation doesn't call for questions about social media. How about questions about what happens if we cut Medicaid. Who pays for health care for the poor? Or do we refuse health care to the poor? There are serious life and death questions to be answered.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 8:37 a.m.

I'd like to hear a lot more specifics. Re: Detroit, what does this mean? "Its more a question of: Were building a good relationship, how we can jump into this and support him in doing a lot of the things that need to be done to make them successful?" What exactly does he plan to do? He says he is going to "push for education reform" What does that mean and how does he expect to do it while cutting the money allocated to education? More unfunded mandates? Those always work so well.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 8:34 a.m.

@ runbum03, Hollywood should be encouraged to use Michigan for post-production and location shooting. Mr. Willis is right, we are an ugly people. I hope Ricki doesn't mess this up. I rather enjoy going to the theaters and guessing where movie scenes have been shot.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 8:31 a.m.

It all depends upon whose apple cart is being overturned on what people will whine about. We've got a huge budget problem in this state bordering on insolvency. I don't understand how thinking people can think that is going to be fixed without pain. The previous administration didn't want to upset anyone and here we are, the day of reckoning is upon us. Fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy ride.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:58 a.m.

You're just a little off: mostly on the point about who did what. -- It's been a Republican legislature and Republicans in Washington all along who "decided" they could do the popular thing and cut taxes while conducting wars in two countries (costing over $100 billion every 3 months). It's been Republicans who've given away jobs by creating NAFTA and CAFE treaties (even though Clinton signed NAFTA). Detroit automakers (all Republican supporters) hate the Dems because Obama made them come to Washington for loans and handouts in - normal transportation. It required a government takeover to revive the auto companies ruined by their own management and right wing policies.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 8:51 a.m.

Yes, the pain is coming. Lets remember where it came FROM: Nonsense rightwing "ideal economic theory." Send jobs to foreigners (it's necessary to compete), allow corporate fraud on a massive, disastrous scale (laissez faire rules!), load the Supreme Court with people who think foreign companies should be buying OUR politicians with campaign money. Yeah, that'll work!


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 7:18 a.m.

"I want to give them an opportunity to succeed...." By taking away other people opportunities to survive? These film subsidies take money from local communities - killing local opportunities. As Bruce Willis once said, before the subsidies, people in Michigan are not photogenic. I believe the exact word he used was "ugly." Gov Snyder should focus on all of Michigan - not just Ann Arbor. It's like he is afraid of the rest of the State.