Gretchen Whitmer spoke of bipartisanship during her inaugural address on New Year’s Day. Eight years ago, Rick Snyder also spoke of the parties coming together when he took office in 2011. WDET reporter Jake Neher says that’s usually how a new term starts, but he says it normally doesn’t take long before partisan bickering resumes.
The Republican Snyder became governor at a time when the GOP held large majorities of the House and Senate. Republicans still have control of the Legislature although by slimmer margins in both chambers as Whitmer, a Democrat takes office. Michigan Public Radio Network reporter Cheyna Roth says that makes Whitmer’s call for bipartisanship “maybe not more sincere, but maybe a bit more necessary.” Neher and Roth host a special one hour MichMash on the State of the State. It will air Tuesday February 5th at 8:00p.m. on WMUK.
In addition to the different political climate, the economic state is different now than it was eight years ago. Snyder came in during the early stages of an economic recovery. Whitmer takes over with a strong economy, but some signs that revenue could soon stall. Roth says those projections will likely mean that Republicans will be less likely to go along with anything that could be construed as a tax increase. Neher says additional revenue in recent years has been funneled to roads. He says if that money dries up, the debate over road funding will be complicated further.
Roth and Neher sought out people from across the state to find out what they wanted to hear in the State of the State address. They found that were some differences by geography. Neher talked to people in Metro Detroit who wanted to hear more about roads. Roth says in the Grand Rapids area roads ranked behind education and the environment.