House Republican Leader Matt Hall, R-Richland Township, on Thursday issued the following statement:
“Gov. Whitmer spent $2 million of taxpayer money just for her population council to give her a one-star review. The governor hand-picked the council and excluded other voices, but the report is a searing indictment of Gretchen Whitmer’s failure these past five years. It acknowledges problems that were already identified in 2016 and 2017 — our roads are broken, our schools are failing, and Michiganders are leaving the state. Michigan started making progress under the Snyder administration, but the council has now made it abundantly clear that Gov. Whitmer has never had a ‘bold, coordinated economic growth plan,’ a ‘forward-looking, cohesive approach,’ or a ‘roadmap to transform our economy.’ She hasn’t moved the needle. Now, most of the solutions her population council recommends just repeat recommendations from prior reports, and we’re back to square one after the council’s six months of work.
“The council even said the challenges are worse than expected. That’s because instead of developing a strategy, the governor has spent her time in office trying to undo the forward steps Michigan took under Gov. Snyder, chipping away at education standards, and rejecting serious efforts to invest in infrastructure. This year, she and her Democrat allies rejected Republican efforts to increase funding for local road repairs.
“Meanwhile, the council’s calls for expensive programs will come with billions of dollars in new taxes, proving that the governor’s whole point for the council was to give Democrats political cover for unpopular tax hikes. Of course, the commission didn’t offer any specific recommendations about which taxes to raise to pay for new spending, and Democrats wasted our entire $9 billion surplus before hearing from the council.
“We can’t spend our way out of our problems, and raising taxes will only further increase the cost of living in our state and make it harder for people to put down roots in Michigan. Democrats are already raising the income tax on January 1. If they want to hike our taxes even more, our population will keep shrinking, and the only thing that will grow is Gov. Whitmer’s record of failure.”
In 2016 and 2017, Gov. Snyder commissioned several reports to analyze the state’s 21st Century needs in education, infrastructure, and the economy, which identified the same problems and recommended many of the solutions echoed by the governor’s population council.
The day the governor announced the “Growing Michigan Together Council,” Hall predicted the council would be a Trojan horse for new taxes. The final report adopted by the council today recommends new “revenue-generation strategies” while calling for programs that will cost billions of dollars while doing nothing to address the real issues that have led to population decline.
Democrats’ annual state budget, which passed this summer, cost $82 billion, spent billions of dollars on pork projects, and underfunded the major priorities of Michigan residents. For example, the budget distributed no new funding for local road agencies after Democrats rejected Republican amendments to invest $1 billion. Meanwhile, the budget provided $2 million to fund the population council. Democrats decided to raise the income tax starting in January, and their budget won’t balance without the income tax hike.
“As Michigan struggles to grow, the governor just wants to slap a Band-Aid on our economy while ignoring the deep-seated problems that Democrat policies have exacerbated,” Hall said. “Our state needs to strengthen our economy by lowering our taxes and fostering a fair, reasonable regulatory environment that makes sense for Michigan workers and small businesses.”
“Speaker Tate still refuses to admit that the House is in shared power, but he’s feeling its effects as House Republicans rack up wins each time Democrats move our way. But even as Republicans secure victories, Democrats are blocking progress on the pressing issues facing Michiganders.”