Gov. Jennifer Granholm gives her last State of the State speech tonight.

Mackinac Center analysts have reviewed each State of the State speech dating back to 1969 and tallied the number of proposed expansions and limitations of government that each governor has offered. The "scorecard" of proposals below provides some insight into each administration's desire to see government solve perceived public policy problems.

These counts are not an exact science, but determining whether a proposal expands or limits state government is usually not too difficult.

Below is a set of historical averages covering the administrations of Governors William Milliken, James Blanchard, John Engler and Jennifer Granholm.

Expansions and Limitations by Administration
since 1969

Gov. Milliken, 1969-1982

Avg.

High

Low

 

Proposed expansions

5.6

12 ('71, 80)

0 ('74)

 

Proposed limitations

2.9

8 ('73)

0 ('70, '79, '82)

 

Gov. Blanchard, 1983-1990

Avg.

High

Low

 

Proposed expansions

8.6

19 ('89, '90)

1 ('85)

 

Proposed limitations

2.1

7 ('84)

0 ('87, '88)

 

Gov. Engler, 1991-2002

Avg.

High

Low

 

Proposed expansions

8.4

18 ('00)

3 ('91)

 

Proposed limitations

4.3

11 ('95)

1 ('02, '97, '03)

 

Gov. Granholm, 2003-2009

Avg.

High

Low

 

Proposed expansions

16.4

24 ('08)

7 ('05)

 

Proposed limitations

3

6 ('03) ('09)

0 ('05)

The "proposed expansions" average for Gov. Granholm changes to 17.4 if one adopts the written text of her State of the State addresses as posted on the governor's Web site for the official tally. Also, portions of this blog post were excerpted from a commentary posted last year after the 2009 State of the State speech.

By this measure, Gov. Granholm's legacy will include an obvious desire to expand the depth and breadth of state involvement in our life - and comparatively, by a wide margin.