You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, May 1, 2012 : 10:10 a.m.

Lt. Gov. praises Ann Arbor: 'This is really one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the nation'

By Ryan J. Stanton

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a Republican from Ionia County, sang the praises of Ann Arbor and its people Monday night during a local town hall forum.

"This is really one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the nation," he said. "I mean, it's who you are and that's what this area is about."

Calley said he used to have family that lived a block away from the Big House, but it was when his young daughter came here for surgery two years ago at the University of Michigan Hospital that he truly developed a warm spot in his heart for Ann Arbor.


Brian Calley

"She was born with a defect in her heart, one that the doctors over in my region said was not fixable," he said. "And of course, we came here and it was a pretty remarkable experience.

"Really dramatic. I mean, we've been through three cardiac arrests and two open heart surgeries and other various procedures and so forth," he said.

Calley said he's happy to say his daughter is 2 years old now and "totally on the mend."

"What they said wouldn't happen, happened," he said. "And it was because of the type of innovation and creativity of the medical system."

Calley also has a 5-year-old daughter with autism. He said there are hardly any autism services in the state of Michigan.

"Except for you've got them here in Washtenaw County," he said. "So we had the ability and the means to move our daughter around and to afford the therapies and so forth and made good use of what's available here in Washtenaw County for her as well."

Calley, who in April signed into law new legislation that will require insurance companies to offer coverage for autism treatments, said he's excited now about the potential for taking the autism services available in Washtenaw County across the whole state.

"Just in so many ways, this community is an example of how problems can be solved," he said of Ann Arbor. "Problems that everybody else can't figure out. Problems that seem insurmountable. And you just have remarkably the collection of resources and people and talent and creativity and determination to face down problems and solve them."

Calley was in town mainly to address the topic of personal property tax reform and expressed interest in reaching across the aisle and working with state Rep. Jeff Irwin and state Sen. Rebekah Warren, two Democrats who represent Ann Arbor in the Legislature.

"You actually have been blessed in this area with really smart people who represent you," he said. "Even though I probably would, generally speaking, disagree with Sen. Warren on a lot of policy issues, she's probably one of the smartest people in the whole town of Lansing."

Calley also reflected on budget cuts handed down by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration and the Republican-controlled Legislature, including cuts to education.

"Everybody who touches state government kind of feels like, 'Geez, I took a big part of the brunt of that,' but really everybody did," he said. "Honestly, if we haven't done anything to offend you, it just means you're not paying close attention."

On the decision to cut state funding for Michigan universities by 15 percent, Calley said it was an unfortunate consequence of a sluggish economy.

"We felt that it was necessary not to hit universities any more than 15 percent. We thought that was too much as it was," he said. "I hate that higher education funding got reduced at all, and that is a major priority moving forward."

At another point during the night, Calley openly confessed: "I'm kind of a tax nerd."

Calley also jokingly talked about the fundamental differences between him and Snyder: "I mean, he came out of venture capital. I came out of traditional banking. He's an Ann Arbor guy, and I'm an East Lansing guy. He drinks Pepsi. I drink Coke."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

I wish that this article also mentioned that State Representative Mark Ouimet sponsored this meeting so that people could come together and discuss the Personal Property Tax Reform.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Really Brian? If you line up Brinks trucks filled with tax payer money and drive them to Engadine guess what happens. We know have the government funding projects at our universities that are competing with the private sector. You won't hear about the 100 failed projects, but they'll promote the hell out of the one successful project that would have been created with private money. Our universities are no longer in the education business, try to find a professor actually teaching a class at U of M.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

So, no private enterprise has ever failed? From a study done by USBLS: "The data show that, across sectors, 66 percent of new establishments were still in existence 2 years after their birth, and 44 percent were still in existence 4 years after. " One chart I found shows that only 29% of businesses started in 1992 are still around in 2012. The UM is still around after over 100 years, people line up to pay high tuition, more than are accepted. Kind of like The Market. One reason some companies can do well is because the UM has done the basic research, eating the cost.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Calley's approach, if you want local revenue, you'll need to think of new ways. He admitted he favors income taxes, special assesments, use taxes. His words, not mine from last night. So get ready to pay one way or the other, cause Michigan means BUSINESS.

John Q

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

In other words, shift the property tax burden back onto individuals and homeowners.

Dog Guy

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

A Lieutenant Calley just can't get any respect in Ann Arbor.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

the body language in this guy's picture says it all: I wouldn't buy a used car from him never mind a tax plan.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

I wonder what makes this area so dynamic? hmmm, could it be the massive public university that is one of the leaders in research? You know, one of those evil, socialist public schools that you constantly try to defund? Spare me your false praise, Lt. Governor.

Space Cowgirl

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

The governor drinks Pepsi over Coke? That's a clear demonstration of poor decision-making skills.

say it plain

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

AMEN, @A2anon! It's not news in the least that the Lt. Gov. would praise Ann Arbor... It *is* news that he offers these mis-representations of his administration... And it's too bad our news-sources won't bother telling us so, even as it covers *a town hall forum*, wow! Do we think that the fall of journalism and the right-wing lies (theirs being so very blatantly blatant, unfortunately, the left lies also to avoid revealing how money runs their show too of course) being so, ehrm, "acceptable" to so many people might be *related* phenomena?!

Wolf's Bane

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Brian Calley appears smug in the knowledge that he and his party are taking credit for all of Granholm's past work in transforming our state into one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the nation.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Cop out!!! The cuts to K-12 and Higher Ed were to fund corporate tax breaks! It was NOT due to a "sluggish economy." In fact, the School Aid Fund was flush enough to INCREASE K-12 funding last year, not decimate it. Ann Arbor will not remain a "dynamic and innovative" place for long with lousy public schools with giant class sizes, and a University populated only with the boarding-schooled hyper-priveledged who can afford it.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

cognitive dissonance? he loves ann arbor and the university, but his party can't see its way to doing anything but cutting university budget by 15%?

John Q

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Hey Ryan, now about indicating that the cuts to universities had nothing to do with the economy. They were driven by the insistence of giving a huge tax cut to businesses. Or noting that Republicans in Lansing have no problem approving health insurance mandates while opposing health care mandates from Washington. The hypocrisy is obvious to everyone else. Be a reporter, not a stenographer.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Well said, John Q.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Maybe a step into reality would be good? Governments do create jobs, sorry you don't like it. The UM is the largest employer in the area. They save lives via the hospitals, spin off companies create jobs and innovation. Sorry reality does not creep into your ideology.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

Businesses create jobs (unless you're of the socialist mindset, then government does), the universities are way over priced, and without jobs your degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on which many graduates are now experiencing while they make pizzas and flip burgers.