Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder addresses the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce Business Builder Breakfast on Thursday at the Fairlane Club.
Dearborn Chamber of Commerce officials Jennifer Giering (left), president; Peggy Richards, director of Events; and Renee Aloe, director of Membership Services, write a message on Rick Snyder’s Nerd Mobile in the Fairlane Club parking lot during the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s appearance at the chamber’s Business Builder Breakfast.
By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — With less than a month before voters head to the polls, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder was in town Thursday seeking support from the city’s business community.
Speaking to the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce at the Fairlane Club on Thursday morning, Snyder gave a truncated stump speech highlighting his business credentials while also outlining his plans to change the state’s business climate. The speech was followed by a brief question-and-answer session before Snyder moved on to attend other campaign events.
The former Gateway Computers president and chief operating officer was clear on his view that Michigan is in crisis from years of legislative dithering and shortsighted policy decisions. To help shake the malaise and spur business growth in a state with a 13 percent unemployment rate, Snyder said he would employ a more customer service-oriented approach to governing.
“When I was at Gateway, I saw the payroll grow from 700 to 10,000,” he said. “I always knew we would succeed, because we were offering a good product at a value but also because of outstanding customer service, and that was something people really were looking for.”
Snyder parlayed that example of retail customer service into an example of how he would make Michigan more business friendly. One way of doing that, suggested Snyder, would be changing the state’s sometimes difficult and time-consuming permitting process.
Rather than waiting interminably for a laggard agency to review a permit request, Snyder said, a set period would be established within which the agency would have to review the request. If the period expired and the business hasn’t heard back, the permit automatically would issue.
“The role of government isn’t to create jobs, it’s to create an environment where jobs can flourish,” Snyder said.
And to the delight of those in attendance, Snyder called for replacing the much-maligned Michigan Business Tax.
“It is fundamentally unfair, and I propose replacing it with a flat 6 percent corporate income tax. Federal tax collection times 6 percent, get a number, write a check. Simple, fair and efficient – from job killing to job creating,” Snyder said with a measured cadence in a bing-bang-boom manner.
During the audience participation session, Snyder fielded a number of industry-related questions, ranging from whether he would look to bring defense-manufacturing firms to the state (he said he would) to how he feels about the Michigan renewable energy legislation (he said it set reasonable targets for renewable energy consumption).
The Henry Ford President Patricia Mooradian asked Snyder about the current Legislature not fully funding the Pure Michigan advertising campaign. Citing studies that show a two-to-one ratio of tax dollars received versus money spent for the campaign, Snyder said it was “absolutely backwards” not to fund the program.
“I put Pure Michigan as one of my highest priorities, as one of those no-brainer things,” he said. “I think this is an obvious example of how we can win together.”