For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009
Contact: Michael D. LaFaive
Director of Fiscal Policy
989-631-0900

MIDLAND - Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed nine expansions of government and six contractions in her spoken State of the State address tonight, according to Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive, who conducts an annual count of State of the State proposals by Michigan governors. A different, longer version of the speech posted on the governor's Web site tonight showed 16 expansions and six limitations.

"This address was a clear improvement over most of Gov. Granholm's State of the State speeches as measured by both proposed expansions and limitations," said LaFaive. "Last year Gov. Granholm hit a record-high 24 proposals to expand state government and only four that would limit state government."

LaFaive has examined every State of the State speech back to 1969 and tallied the number of proposed expansions and limitations of each governor. The "scorecard" of gubernatorial proposals can provide insight into the faith each administration places in government to solve public policy problems.

"This is not an exact science," said LaFaive, "but determining whether a proposal expands or limits state government is usually not difficult."

The 2009 list of Gov. Granholm's proposals is posted at www.mackinac.org/10245. 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 as posted on the governor's Web site for the official tally.

"The governor's address proposed a few limitations recommended by Mackinac Center analysts and clearly improved in relation to previous addresses," said LaFaive. "However, there was still little to indicate that the governor is willing to take the necessary steps to improve Michigan's deleterious tax and regulatory climate. Until that happens, the state is unlikely to reverse the 'severity of the crisis' we face."

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