Schuette visits UP during race for governor

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces his gubernatorial campaign Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, at the Midland County Fairgrounds in Midland, Mich. Schuette launched a bid for governor Tuesday, entering as the Republican front-runner by promising to be a "jobs governor" who will cut income taxes and high auto premiums and not accept that Michigan's best economic days are in the past. (Jacob Hamilton/The Bay City Times via AP)

MARQUETTE — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who announced his candidacy for governor Sept. 12, said he wants to be known as the “jobs governor.”

Schuette was in Marquette this week during an “announcement rollout” with stops in the Upper Peninsula.

Following a roundtable discussion with local business officials at the Staybridge Suites, Schuette talked with The Mining Journal about his gubernatorial plans.

“I’m running for governor because I want Michigan to be a growth state, a paycheck state and a jobs state, and in order to achieve that goal, we need to have a jobs governor,” said Schuette, who credited Gov. Rick Snyder’s Republican administration for Michigan’s economic rebound.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped from 5 percent in March to 3.9 percent in September.

However, Schuette believes there’s more to be accomplished.

“We still are 300,000 jobs short of what we had before the Great Recession,” he said. “There are 55 counties in the state of Michigan that have lost population, so Michigan’s real challenge is population and people.”

He wants people to “cop an attitude” about Michigan’s future.

“I reject this kind of silent acquiescence or grudging resignation that Michigan’s best days are behind us,” said Schuette, who wants to eliminate the personal tax increase from the Jennifer Granholm administration.

“Jennifer Granholm raised taxes, and it was supposed to be rolled back,” Schuette said. “It hasn’t been.”

He proposes rolling back the personal income tax from 4.25 percent to 3.9 percent.

Schuette also wants to concentrate on auto insurance reform by cracking down on fraud and frivolous lawsuits.

“Today our auto insurance rates in Michigan are the highest in America, about $1,000 higher than the national average,” Schuette said.

He expressed frustration with people who worry about the loss of income for the state should the personal income tax be lowered.

“That’s ridiculous, because they view Michigan in a very narrow, constrained, small lens that’s, you know, cloudy and opaque, and has limited aspirations for Michigan’s future,” Schuette said. “I want to have a lens and a prism for Michigan that is clear and bright and expansive, because if we don’t try to grow our economy and grow our population, we’ll have more people receiving benefit checks than paychecks.”

He used as an example the fact that Michigan, which has 14 members of Congress, is expected to lose a member by the time of the next census.

“What does that tell you?” Schuette said. “That tells you that Michigan isn’t growing as fast as other states. We once had 19 members of Congress. Now we have 14. We’re going to have 13.

“I am not going to manage Michigan’s decline. That is not the job of a governor. I’m going to be a governor that works very hard to be the jobs governor and has more paychecks and more growth and more people.”

Schuette also announced he has received the support of John Engler, former three-term Michigan governor and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, in his campaign to be governor.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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