LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - When Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his fourth State of the State address Thursday, he can do so feeling confident he will see action on most of the initiatives he lays out, based on a Free Press analysis of Snyder's first three formal addresses to the Legislature.
And lawmakers can be sure that what Snyder doesn't get, he will ask for again next year, should he seek and win re-election in 2014, the analysis shows.
Snyder has completed or made progress on 76% of the pledges he made in State of the State addresses in 2011, 2012, and 2013, the Free Press found.
That's on a par or better than other governors across the country, a 2012 national study suggests.
"I think we've gotten more done than probably most people would have expected," Snyder said in a recent interview.
On at least seven items, including road funding and the Education Achievement Authority for low-performing schools, Snyder has raised the same issue in consecutive speeches when he didn't get what he wanted the first time.
Stalled priorities likely to be raised again Thursday include investing more than $1 billion more a year in Michigan roads, reforming the no-fault auto insurance system, improving mental health services, expanding the EAA for low-performing school districts, and - a perennial Snyder plea - changing Michigan's culture to make it more upbeat and less divisive.
Of the 67 unique State of the State pledges Snyder has made, 23 (34%) can be considered complete, 28 (42%) are under way and ongoing, and 16 (24%) are largely incomplete or stalled.
A study by political scientists Thad Kousser and Justin Phillips, cited this week in an article in Governing magazine, looked at governors' proposals in State of the State addresses in 28 states in 2001 and 2006 and found those governors had a 52.1% success rate in the legislative sessions that followed their speeches.
That study used a different methodology than the Free Press analysis, only examining governors' State of the State pledges that required legislative action and only looking at how those issues fared in the legislative terms immediately following the speeches.
Kousser, an associate professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, said his study gave governors a half point for initiatives under way but not completed. On that basis, Snyder's success rate of about 55% on a wider range of pledges is comparable to other governors, he said.
Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, said Snyder is "on the right path," but has put forward initiatives that are not yet accomplished, such as the Education Achievement Authority for failing schools.
"I would give him a B with some extra credit for Medicaid reform," Lyons said.
Lyon's assessment is much more positive than one offered by House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, who said Snyder's priorities have favored "big corporations and the wealthy, instead of investing in education and providing meaningful tax relief to everyday people."
"Unfortunately we've seen jobs, wages and women's health come under consistent attack, and he's done nothing to stop those attacks," Greimel said.
Snyder, unlike many governors in Kousser's study, has had the advantage of his Republican colleagues holding majorities in both chambers of the legislature.
Kousser said two factors - same-party majorities and part-time legislatures - were the most likely to correlate with a governor's success in completing his agenda. Snyder has had the first, but not the second.
As a full-time body with professional staff, "the Michigan Legislature would have had the means to stand up to him, but not necessarily the motivation," Kousser said. The Republican majority "likely agreed with much of what he had to say."
Snyder has sometimes been at odds with the Republican legislative majority on issues such as abortion restrictions and embyronic stem cell research.
Snyder's first State of the State speech in 2011 contained the most pledges - 30 - including his contentious plan to build a public bridge across the Detroit River to Canada. Although the Legislature never approved the bridge project as Snyder wished, the governor went around lawmakers to strike a deal with the Canadian government and later was granted a presidential permit to proceed.
U.S. funding approvals are still pending and construction has not begun. The bridge project is categorized as "ongoing" in the Free Press analysis.
Of the 30 pledges Snyder made in 2011, 12 are complete, 17 are ongoing and one - an initiative to encourage immigrants with advanced degrees to come to Michigan - is stalled.
In 2012, Snyder made 18 pledges, of which four are complete, seven are ongoing and seven are largely incomplete or stalled.
And Snyder made 19 pledges in his 2013 State of the State address, of which seven are complete, four are ongoing and eight are largely incomplete, or stalled.
By Paul Egan and Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau