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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mich. Gov.-Elect Rick Snyder (R) Lobbies in D.C. Payments for Jobless Debt, Not Extensions

Rick SnyderImage via Wikipedia
Michigan's Governor-Elect Rick Snyder (R)
believes that repaying Michigan's jobless debt
is more important than providing additional
benefits for 160,000 unemployed state
Michigan Governor-elect Rick Snyder (R), is on a two-day trip to the nation's capital to lobby Congress help to repay the state $3.8 billion it borrowed to pay for jobless benefits, the Detroit News reports

The loans were interest-free under a waiver that expires December 31st, leaving the state responsible for $150 million in interest payments beginning next year. 

Repaying the loans will result in higher unemployment taxes for Michigan businesses, which would make the state less competitive. "It's significant," Snyder said. "That doesn't make rational economic sense."

The state has borrowing money to pay for unemployment since 2006; currently owes more than any other state besides California, which owes $8.9 billion. 

Thirty states and the Virgin Islands have borrowed $41.3 billion and many states have expressed concerns about paying the loans.

Repaying the borrowed money would result in higher unemployment taxes for Michigan businesses, making the state less competitive, he expressed.

In turn, Governor-Elected Snyder (R), while in Washington DC, Snyder did not lobby at all, for an extension of federal unemployment benefits, which expired on November 30th. An estimated 160,000 job seeking Michiganders will continue to lose benefits until December 31st, unless Congress passes an extension.

In fact, Snyder does not believe that either incentives to bring companies to Michigan or lobbying on behalf of keeping companies in the state, in Washington, D.C. is his responsibility or role.

The state has "used these huge incentive packages to essentially buy someone to come into the state. Why did they have to buy them into the state? Because we have a broken tax and regulatory system," Snyder said to Detroit News reporters

"I'll keep a strategic use of incentives, but the popcorn-and-candy-flavored incentives that you've given out to everybody doesn't make any sense," he cited.

Snyder’s also stressed that it is not his administration priority to lobby for additional aid or federal efforts for automakers, as outgoing Governor Jennifer Granholm(D) has done over the past few years.

"Theoretically, it's in the role (as governor)," but, "the highest priority is job creation in Michigan." He would try to help all significant industries in Michigan and not be primarily an advocate for the auto industry. "That's their role," Snyder stressed. "As governor, my role isn't to pick winners and losers."

What Snyder believes that will end Michigan’s 12.8 percent unemployment rate, according to the Detroit News article, is to focus more on improving the business climate in the state rather than in "hunting" for outside businesses to locate in Michigan. 

Governor Granholm's (D) employment opportunities lobbying efforts -which included a November 29th, letter written to Congressional leadership in Washington, D.C. urging them to extend jobless benefits- has managed to improve the states' total unemployment rate from a high of 14.3 percent in October 2009, to 12,8 percent in November 2010.

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you feel Governor-Elect Rick Snyder (R) will support any effort to assist Michigan's unemployed job seekers? Feel free to comment on this story!
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