How would you put Michigan back to work?:
Government does not create jobs. Instead, we need to create a competitive business environment that encourages innovation and allows small businesses to grow - that's how we'll put Michigan back to work. I've mapped out how I would do this in my 10-Point Plan to Reinvent Michigan, which is on my website at www.rickformichigan.com.
If elected, what is your top priority in your first 100 days in office?:
Number one is get rid of the job-killing MBT, which will send a strong signal to job providers that our state is headed in a new direction and committed to creating an environment where the tax burden is low, the regulatory environment is reasonable and businesses have access to the support and resources they need to create jobs in Michigan.
Would you make changes to the Michigan Business Tax? If so, what changes?:
I plan to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and the job-killing tax surcharge and replace it with a flat 6-percent corporate tax, which works out to a $1.5 billion tax cut. My plan will be especially helpful to small businesses who currently pay the Alternative Profit Tax because their rate would go from 1.8 percent to zero. My plan is simple, fair and easy for businesses to follow.
How would you balance Michigan’s budget? What specifically would you cut? How would you raise additional revenue?:
We need to implement “Value for Money” budgeting. Right now, government looks at how much money was spent last year, adds a little bit on for inflation, and calls it good. Nowhere in that process did anyone stop and ask if we were getting results for the money that is being spent. That’s wrong. Instead, we need to look at results. We also need to reduce the size of government and make public employee compensation affordable and comparable to the private sector.
What government reforms/changes would you put in place to help prevent budget shortfalls in future years?:
Again, we need to look at Value for Money budgeting. I also think we need to switch to a multi-year budget cycle so that lawmakers have to deal with long-term consequences of budget decisions instead of simply using quick fixes, Band-aids and other accounting gimmicks to push budget problems down the road.
Is Michigan’s system for funding K-12 and higher education reliable? Do you think the way Michigan funds education needs to be c:
The problem with Michigan's K-12 and higher education system isn't a lack of funds; it's that the funds aren't being used well. Michigan is among the top-spending states when it comes to education, yet our test scores consistently rank at the bottom of the pack. There's a clear disconnect between spending and results - just throwing more money at the problem won't solve anything. We need to reform our education system to make sure that programs are working and that we are getting results.
What special qualifications or talents do you have that make you the best choice for this position?:
When I talk about economic development, it isn’t just a theory - I have a proven record as a job creator. When I was with Gateway, the company grew from a little over 700 employees to more than 10,000. I’ve also built several small companies from scratch, creating hundreds of jobs in Michigan and across the country. I'm particularly proud of helping to found Ann Arbor SPARK, which is one of the most successful community-based economic development programs in the country. It's this focus on the economy and experience creating jobs that sets me apart from my opponent, and it is what I will use to Reinvent Michigan.
I started taking community college classes during high school at Kellogg Community College, allowing me go on to earn a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA and my law degree all by the age of 23.
Immediately after graduating, I served as an adjunct assistant professor of tax and accounting at the University of Michigan. I later served as an accountant at a tax firm in Detroit (Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers) before joining Gateway as executive vice president, and then president and COO. While I was at Gateway, the company grew from a privately held company with a little more than 700 to a publicly-traded Fortune 500 company that employed more than 10,000 U.S. workers. After stepping down from Gateway, I returned home to Michigan to start an investment company focused on new technology. I later co-founded another company, Ardesta, that became one of the largest investment firms focused on micro and nanotechnology. I also wrote the business plan for Ann Arbor Spark, the economic development organization for the Ann Arbor region.
Aside from running for precinct delegate, this is my first campaign. I am not a career politician.
I am currently active on the board of directors or advisory boards of several privately held companies and community and educational organizations, including The Henry Ford, the Bank of Ann Arbor, and The University of Michigan. I've previously been active in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (Chair), The Nature Conservancy–Michigan Chapter, the New Economy Initiative, and the Sphinx Organization. I am also a member of the Michigan Bar Association.