Governor-elect Rick Snyder says Michigan's culture is too gloomy and he says that must change as part of the effort to re-invent the state once he takes over as governor next month.
"We've been beaten up for so many years, we've gotten too negative on ourselves," he told business students at Wayne State University Thursday. "We've become too down on ourselves, too hard, and too divisive, and we've gotten in this model of fighting about things too much, whether it be partisanship, or geography or racial or ethnic issues."
He also told the crowd that an early step toward fixing Michigan's troubles is getting people to understand how the state spends its money. Snyder says he's asked for a "plain language" outline of the state's finances that he will share with the public, and he wants cities, townships, counties, and school districts to do the same.
"Because that will be an eye-opening experience," he says. "It's getting the facts to all of us to understand that we've been spending beyond our means."
Snyder says his first budget will be a two-year spending plan that focuses on results and not on how much money each program gets.
Can you understand the state's finances? Here's the link to Michigan's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.