Michigan has added 14,000 new small-business jobs to become the sixth fastest growing economy in the nation, and even automakers are starting to hire again. Heritage visited with Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) to find out how the former president and COO of Gateway Computers has contributed to the turnaround.

Snyder began by crediting his problem-solving philosophy of government for the state’s success.

“Government’s role isn’t to create jobs,” Snyder said. “We’re to help create an environment for success.”

A businessman who made his money in finance, earned three degrees by the age of 23 (B.G.S., J.D., M.B.A.), and won his election by campaigning as “one tough nerd,” Snyder emphasized the importance of business principles in effective government.

“The role of government is customer service, and our citizens are our customers,” he said.

This view of government has translated into policies to balance the state’s budget, eliminate and simplify taxes, and reduce government’s regulatory control of the economy.

“ We’ve gotten rid of 10 rules for every rule we’ve added, down net 1,000-plus rules,” he said.

Job numbers released at the beginning of 2013 showed Michigan’s economy netted 124,000 non-farm jobs during 2011, after Snyder took office as governor.

In addition to tax and regulatory reform, Snyder signed right-to-work legislation at the end of 2012.

“Workers should have a choice to join a union or not,” said Snyder. “If they see value I encourage them to join. If they don’t see value, then the unions can reevaluate, provide a better value proposition, and try to earn their dollars.”

“That’s fair, and at the same time it brings more jobs to Michigan,” he said.