GOP newcomer becomes Mich. governor

Jan. 1, 2011 at 9:43 PM

LANSING, Mich., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Republican businessman Rick Snyder, sworn in Saturday as Michigan governor, warned legislators they have six months to close an almost $2 billion budget gap.

Snyder took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing, the Detroit Free Press reported. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was master of ceremonies for the inauguration.

At a legislative reception later, Snyder warned that Michigan faces tough problems and there are only 182 days until the new fiscal year begins, The Detroit News said. The state has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, and the gap between revenue and spending is estimated at $1.86 billion.

Snyder defeated Democrat Virg Bernero with a healthy 58 percent of the vote and has Republican majorities in both houses of the state Legislature. The governor, a political newcomer, will also have to work with 29 new members in the 40-seat Senate and 61 in the 110-seat House, something he does not think is a problem.

"We got a lot of new people, but it will bring new thoughts and attitudes -- and that's a positive," he said.

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