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Whitmer to give first State of the State amid a “mixed picture” economy

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is scheduled to give her first State of the State address Tuesday. Whitmer will be the first Democrat to give the speech in 9 years. She succeeded term limited Republican Rick Snyder.

Charles Ballard is an economist at Michigan State University. He says Whitmer is giving a speech when the economy is doing better than a decade ago, but it’s a “mixed picture.”

“Her predecessor left her an okay economy but not a very good public sector. And many, many crucial needs, or needs that are important in my view, have been neglected and she faces a real challenge to try to address those things.”

Ballard says too many tax cuts over the years have resulted in crumbling infrastructure and other problems in the public sector.

“The economics of solving some of these problems is very easy. The politics is hard.”

The economy is better than it was a decade ago, says Ballard. But he adds that many of the jobs that have been added recently do not pay well.

Whitmer’s speech is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm in the state Capitol chamber of the House of Representatives.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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