Governor Snyder gives State of the State address

In his 5th State of the State address on Tuesday night, Governor Rick Snyder called on the legislature to help create a “river of opportunity” for those who are struggling in Michigan. In addition, the governor proposed merging two state departments into one large department. The proposal would merge the Departments of Community Health and Human Services into one department called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He says it will allow the state’s poorest residents to better connect with services dealing with health, welfare and job training. The governor also wants to make third-grade reading proficiency a major focus this year. He called for the creation of a commission dealing with reading. He believes its a better way to encourage third grade reading skills, instead of just keeping the third graders from moving to 4th grade.  Governor Snyder Tuesday also promoted the May 5th ballot proposal which would raise the state sales tax and trigger an increase in taxation on gasoline. Both increases would improve funding for roads and schools. Other features of his address included a new energy agency, which he will talk more about in the spring. He’s also looking to put a new emphasis on battling prescription drug abuse, which he’ll talk more about during an address this fall. He received a large round of applause when he called on lawmakers to add “fiscal notes” to bills they introduce, which will outline how much the bill will cost state government.  (MRN)

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