MI State of the State 2007

It was displaced by such important programs as Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight on the local TV channels, but Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm did deliver her 2007 State of the State Address last night. The speech aired on PBS.

The governor never said what the "State of the State" actually is. But, following the visionary leadership of such states as Minnesota, she did propose a $100 million energy project to attract and grow alternative energy companies in Michigan.

"This new industry, so critical to our economy, our national security, and our environment, is already setting up shop in Michigan," Gov. Granholm said. "With other states clamoring for this opportunity MIchigan cannot afford to wait."

The governor also called on state lawmakers to more aggressively target solar and wind companies; establish 1,000 ethanol and biodiesel fuel pumps across the state by 2008; and adopt the goal of generating 10 percent of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2015.

The Urban Core Mayors group earlier called on state leaders to adopt a goal of 15 percent renewables by 2015.

"Anything less than a 15 percent renewables by 2015 sells our state short. We need to transition to the new economy now, not later. Renewable energy will be a huge contributor to economic activity," said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, who has adopted the goal for his city in his 2007 State of the City address.

Saying Michigan needs to ramp up investment in people and cities, the governor also sketched the broad outlines of what she called a more modern tax policy. The state will again struggle to plug a gaping budget deficit. And the governor, who is a Democrat, says that will require a mix of spending cuts, government reforms, and revenue increases. Few Republicans in the house stood to applaud the governor's proposed "tax changes."

Raising the gas tax is a logical and strategic move, considering Granholm's commitment to energy conservation and innovation. But will she have the courage to propose it? Stay tuned.