Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz, left, hosts Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on campus following a town meeting in Houghton.
Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz, left, hosts Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on campus following a town meeting in Houghton.

A visit from the governor

Higher education is key to Michigan’s economic well being on more than one level, Governor Rick Snyder said August 16 during a town hall meeting in the Copper Country.

“Certainly universities support the economy simply by educating our kids and giving them the skills they need to succeed in the marketplace,” he said. “They also create jobs by commercializing research and starting businesses; Michigan Tech has been a leader in that area for a long time.” In particular, the state’s SmartZones—including the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation SmartZone—support economic develop- ment in partnership with universities.

Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz provided the governor’s introduction. “I’ve been impressed with his accessibility and willingness to listen, as well as his forthright responses to very difficult questions about the challenges facing the people of Michigan,” Mroz said. “His willingness to confront brutal realities and make timely decisions stands in sharp contrast to the way similar issues are being handled by governments around the world today.”

An audience member noted that the Snyder admin- istration cut appropriations for Michigan’s public universities this year, while businesses enjoyed tax reductions. “That was a tough call,” Snyder responded. “I hope we’re at the end of these cuts, but we absolutely needed to create the climate for job creation and grow the pie so we can invest and build a strong future and quality of life for all.”

Snyder reviewed his vision for Michigan’s future. “We need more and better jobs,” he said. In particular, the state needs economic growth that will allow young people to stay in Michigan. To help create that growth, he said, he eliminated the Michigan Business Tax, which he called “the dumbest tax in the United States.”

“I’m fired up about what we’re doing,” he said, promising “relentless positive action” to boost prosperity and create a culture of cooperation. “We’ve spent too much time looking in the rear-view mirror,” he said. “The key to success is us all coming together with an attitude that’s positive, forward-looking, and inclusive.”