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Following the Great Recession, Michigan has undergone a series of tax and regulatory reforms under the leadership of Governor Rick Snyder. On Thursday afternoon, in a conversation touching on tax reform, right-to-work legislation, and other pro-growth policies, Gov. Snyder detailed the successes of and remaining challenges facing his state. Following the governor's remarks, panelists analyzed some of the policy changes adopted by Michigan during Gov. Snyder's tenure.
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform observed that citizens ultimately retain the power to dictate their state's legislative agenda. He pointed to a 2010 example in which Michigan residents exercised that power to voice their dissatisfaction with the status quo by electing new and innovative legislators such as the governor.
Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi, discussed the choices state leaders must make regarding infrastructure investment, tax credits, and union regulation, all of which can contribute to a pro-growth environment if properly structured.
In his concluding remarks, Gov. Snyder acknowledged that while serious challenges remain, the aforementioned policy changes have pushed Michigan from a state with high unemployment and out-of-control debt to a state with a pro-growth labor market and an increasingly stable economic future.
Elected officials of every stripe have attempted to attract businesses by cutting tax rates and shedding excessive regulations, by providing incentives for certain industries, and by spending on education and infrastructure. These policies are a boon for business, but how do they affect taxpayers and the broader economy?
While Michigan’s economy was still reeling from the recession, Governor Rick Snyder instituted a series of tax and regulatory reforms including reducing and eliminating many targeted tax credits and industry favors. Join us for a keynote address by Governor Snyder on his efforts in Michigan, followed by a panel discussion on how states should compete for business.
Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan
Haley R. Barbour, Cofounder of BGR Group and Former Governor of Mississippi
Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center
Grover G. Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Timothy P. Carney, AEI
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Haley R. Barbour is the former governor of Mississippi and a founding partner of BGR Group, a bipartisan government relations, strategic communications, and investment banking firm with offices in London and Washington, DC. Barbour began his political career on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign and later ran Gerald Ford’s fall campaign. He served as political director of the Reagan White House and worked on the George H.W. Bush campaign. In 2003, Barbour was elected governor of Mississippi and assumed office in January 2004. While governor, Barbour led the charge in comprehensive tort reform and generated several large projects in the energy, aerospace, and automotive fields. In 2005, Barbour received national recognition from the American Legislative Exchange Council for his swift response to Hurricane Katrina. He is also the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award and has been named Governor of the Year by Governing Magazine.
Timothy P. Carney is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he helps direct the Culture of Competition Project, examining barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. Carney has more than a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics. His work at AEI focuses on how to reinvigorate a competitive culture in America in which all can reap the benefits of a fair economy. Carney is the author of two books: “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) and “Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses” (Regnery Publishing, 2009).
Michael D. LaFaive is the director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. LaFaive has authored and coauthored hundreds of essays, commentaries, and blog posts on various fiscal policy topics such as local and state privatization efforts, corporate welfare, school finance, state budgeting, and cigarette taxes. He is also the originator of the Center’s annual school privatization survey, which routinely garners a 100 percent response rate from participating districts. LaFaive regularly offers scholarly work examining state economic development programs. His frequent commentaries on economic development issues have garnered national spotlight and were influential in the decision to eliminate the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the state’s high-profile corporate welfare program.
Grover G. Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group created at the request of former president Reagan. With Norquist at the helm, ATR organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. In addition to his work at ATR, Norquist also chairs the Washington, DC-based Wednesday meeting, a weekly gathering of more than 150 elected officials, political activists, and movement leaders. Norquist serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association of America, the American Conservative Union, the Parental Rights Organization, and the Center for National Interest. He is a contributing editor to the American Spectator Magazine and has authored and coauthored three books, including “Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future” (Wiley, 2012).
Rick Snyder is the 48th governor of Michigan. In 1991, Snyder joined Gateway, a computer company based in South Dakota, as the executive vice president and later served as president, chief operating officer, and chairman of the board. Snyder is the founder and cofounder of Avalon Investments Inc. and Ardesta LLC, two investment firms in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During Michigan’s 2010 gubernatorial race, Snyder pledged to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and replace it with a flat, 6 percent corporate income tax and create an environment where small businesses can grow. After a decisive win in Michigan, Snyder was inaugurated on January 1, 2011. In his efforts to reinvent Michigan, Snyder has successfully eliminated the Michigan Business Tax. Snyder has also signed legislation that made Michigan the 24th “Right to Work” state in the US. Through his work with Michigan’s lawmakers, the governor acquired bipartisan approval for a new budget that eliminated the state’s $1.5 billion deficit.