It was announced on Monday that Republic Gov. Rick Snyder will be delivering the Spring Commencement speech at the 2011 graduation ceremony on April 30. Immediately following this announcement, students began to organize protests in an attempt to sway the University’s Board of Regents to vote to not approve Snyder.

Yesterday, I woke to an e-mail from LSA senior Zach Goldsmith asking me to join the Facebook group “PROTEST against Rick Snyder as Commencement Speaker!”

Let me start by saying it’s absolutely every student’s right to protest. That being said, I strongly believe that students need to give our new governor a chance.

Nothing has worked in Michigan for more than the past 10 years, and Snyder undoubtedly has a very difficult job. He has kept a low profile nationally (unlike other state governors) and has assured unions that he’s not against them and supports collective bargaining rights. He’s not your typical politician and isn’t scared to make sacrifices.

I specifically like his plan to simplify the tax code for individuals and get rid of the Michigan Business Tax. The current tax code is too complicated and unfair with the vast number of random deductions. Also, I strongly agree with his proposal to reduce the tax burden on “S” corporations and LLC’s. Under the current tax code, these companies are taxed twice — on personal income and corporate profits. By cutting this tax, companies will be better equipped to invest in new technologies and projects, which will stimulate the Michigan economy by bringing business to the state and creating jobs that will keep recent graduates (like myself) in Michigan. In addition, why should pension funds not be taxed? Pensions are just another way to defer income. In order for Snyder to remain transparent, consistent and fair in his tax code, he must fight to tax pension income as regular income.

I understand that many students are upset that Snyder was chosen to deliver the Spring Commencement speech because of his proposal to cut funding for higher education. This is a difficult decision because it’s important to maintain the strong reputation that schools like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University have. However, the university communities are comprised of very smart minds. I’m confident that they will be able to be more efficient with the money they have while maintaining their prestige and ability to recruit top students and professors.

I like that Snyder is attempting to run the state like a business. He’s not worried about appeasing special interests. He’s trying to make the state more efficient and collaborative. People read headlines that say “corporate tax cuts” and “decrease state employee wages” and immediately assume Snyder is just trying to make the rich richer at the expense of the middle and lower classes. People are obviously going to be upset with budget cuts and the increase in taxes, but Snyder is a smart businessman with a proven track record.

Despite this, Snyder isn’t going to use his opportunity to address the student body to transcend a political message; he has proven himself to be above that political cattiness. He will speak to the outgoing class about leadership, the importance of our generation and his experience in attempting to turn around a state that desperately needs help. Snyder has demonstrated excellent leadership ability. He possesses three degrees from the University, and prior to stepping into the governor’s chair, Snyder ran an extremely successful business located in Ann Arbor. So whether you agree with his political agenda or not, give him a chance and listen to what he has to say.

Jason Jacob is a Ross School of Business senior.

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