Governor Rick Snyder tours North American International Auto Show

(WXYZ) - Governor Rick  Snyder (R-Michigan) checked out the new trucks and cars at the North American International Auto Show.

For the governor, the event isn't just about showing off automobiles.  It is about showing off Michigan.

"A lot of it is the promotion of Michigan as the place to make things," said Gov. Snyder.  ‘We lead the auto industry."

The governor worked personally to make the pitch.  He walked the entire show floor, greeting auto executives.
He asked them to show him the cars they are making in Michigan, what they like about doing business here, and how the state can help them bring more business here.

Ford's leaders  asked the governor to try to lower property taxes on large industrial equipment.  He says other states don't do that.

"We are working with the governor to make sure that when we make investments and have big assets we have the same tax rates as in other states," said Joseph R. Hinrichs, Ford Executive Vice President and President, The Americas.

"I appreciate Ford bringing it up," said Gov. Snyder.  "It is about personal property tax on industrial equipment. We are the only state in the region that still taxes that equipment. "

Snyder said he has been advocating for a change in that tax policy.  He says lawmakers are working on it, and he has called for them to change it.  He believes we could see a vote on such a change as soon as August.

The other issue several automakers and suppliers brought up is the struggle to find skilled workers.  They say jobs in the industry are technical, and there is demand.

"It is not like the old days when you could go out with any background, go on the line, and get to work," said the Governor.

He said he has implemented a program that helped Germany develop a skilled workforce for its industries.  The auto industry's leaders say it is working and they want it to continue.  

"We're working with his office to bring up the talent to produce these products,"said Jeff Allen, VP Operations Detroit Diesel.

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