---- — TROY (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder defended his economic plan Wednesday, saying his Democratic opponent was off base in charging that it lacked specificity.
"We've got the most substantive plan of any candidate that's been running for office in Michigan in a long time," the Ann Arbor businessman said after taking a brief tour of a Detroit-area manufacturing facility with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Democratic nominee Virg Bernero said Snyder's plan is full of rhetoric and few specifics.
Asked about the criticism, Snyder encouraged the Lansing mayor to go to his campaign website and check out a plan he said more than adequately addresses the campaign's No. 1 issue: "Jobs, jobs, jobs."
Snyder is a former Gateway Inc. executive and venture capitalist who says his experience in the real world will allow him to encourage innovation and create a better business climate as governor.
A 10-point plan on his campaign site calls for significantly altering Michigan's budgetary process and posting the state's finances and performance online among other initiatives.
Christie, who also made campaign stops in recent days on behalf of GOP governor hopefuls in Iowa and Illinois, said Bernero's claims that the Snyder economic plan doesn't feature enough specifics were similar to those made against him in his successful race against Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.
"I would warn the people of Michigan — with some experience in this over the last year — that's the next act of desperation you're going to see out of an opponent who's losing," Christie said.
Bernero spokesman Cullen Schwarz said Snyder "can bring in all the out-of-state partisan politicians he wants, but Virg's plan has real solutions for real problems facing our economy." "Virg has experience and a record of creating jobs in Lansing. And his plan has real solutions that Mr. Snyder's plan is sorely lacking," Schwarz said.
Snyder and Christie were visiting HMS Products Co., a Troy business that specializes in the field of metal press automation.
The pair talked to and shook hands with workers before holding a brief press conference.
During his opening remarks, Snyder reiterated his pledge to do away with the Michigan Business Tax, which he said hurts companies such as HMS Products.
Asked how swiftly he would move to eliminate the MBT if elected, Snyder said, "we'll move as quickly as we can," but didn't offer a timetable.
Snyder wants to get rid of the unpopular tax and replace it with a simpler corporate income tax, a move he says will save businesses $1.5 billion.
Bernero wants to cut the 22 percent business tax surcharge — saving businesses $500 million — and create a state-run bank to make loans available to college students and small business owners.
Snyder, Bernero and a trio of third-party candidates are running on Nov. 2 to succeed Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who can't run again because of term limits.