For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2015 State of the State address included six proposed expansions of government and one limitation, according to Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive, who has helped tally and categorize annual State of the State addresses as far back as 1969.

Gov. Snyder called on Michigan voters to approve the May 5 ballot proposal that would increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent and provide additional road funding, among other things.

“The Michigan House last year proposed a plan to provide an additional $1 billion in road funding with no tax increase,” LaFaive said. “The Senate plan would have provided the same $1 billion for roads with a $1.2 billion tax increase. The ballot initiative Gov. Snyder asked voters to approve would come at a cost of $1.9 billion.”

The governor also called for legislation, including a new commission, to help increase third grade reading scores, and saying that “support from prenatal to third grade” is “vital.”

Gov. Snyder also said he wants to “ramp up” both the Community Ventures and Pathways to Potential programs, along with creating a new agency on energy, investing in combatting invasive species in the Great Lakes and creating “regional prosperity teams.”

The governor’s only suggested limitation of government was a plan to ask the federal government for a number of waivers in order to consolidate 145 various programs.

“The governor’s proposals tonight are similar to his four-year average of seven proposed expansions and two proposed limitations for 2011 through 2014,” LaFaive said. “The fewest expansions proposed on average since 1969 came during the Milliken administration, with 5.6. In 1974, Gov. Milliken actually proposed zero expansions of government. The highest number of average proposed limitations came from Gov. John Engler, with 4.3.”

The results of the annual tally are below. The tally has long been premised on proposed limitations and expansions of government as presented in the speech. Analysts at the Mackinac Center are sometimes required to judge whether a statement indicates an actual expansion or limitation of government. This is particularly true for Gov. Snyder, who does not read from a prepared text when giving his annual address.

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, 2003-2010 Avg. High Low  
  Proposed expansions 16.3 24 (’08) 7 (’05)  
  Proposed limitations 3.0 6 (’03) (’09) 0 (’05)  
Gov. Snyder, 2011-2015 Avg. ’11 ’12 ’13 ’14 ’15  
  Proposed expansions 6.8 9 5 8 6 6  
  Proposed limitations 1.8 3 1 2 2 1  


Proposed 2015 Expansions

  1. Ask voters to increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent for a total cost of $1.9 billion under a May 5 ballot proposal.
  2. Ramp up pilot programs, such as Community Ventures and Pathways to Potential.
  3. Called for legislation to increase funding for prenatal to third grade initiatives.
  4. Invest in combatting invasive species in the Great Lakes.
  5. Create Regional Prosperity Teams.
  6. Create agency on energy.


Proposed 2015 Limitation

  1. Ask federal government for waivers in order to consolidate 145 programs