In Whitmer’s Michigan, Road Forks You!

It’s been said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Here in Michigan, the debate over road funding is going back to a familiar, off-key chorus.
 
In October, Bill Schuette accused Gretchen Whitmer of supporting a 20-cent gas tax hike to “fix the damn roads.” She called that claim “ridiculous,” “nonsense,” and swore that he was making it up. She won the election and went on to reveal her big, bold plan to fix the roads… which was nothing more than a 45-cent gas tax hike!

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“New” Revenue

Governor Whitmer remains insistent that she cannot “fix the damn roads” without raising taxes on Michigan citizens, or as she likes to call it, “new revenue.”

Unfortunately, it seems some in the legislature are starting to agree. While they balked at her proposed 45-cent gas tax hike, they’re entertaining the notion of a smaller, 20-cent gas tax hike.

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Whitmer Throws the Car into… Neutral

Those who were hoping for a big summer as Governor Gretchen Whitmer looked to drive the state forward could be forgiven for feeling… stuck in neutral.

Instead of fixing the damn roads, Whitmer has demanded the legislature do her work for you.

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Lazy summers and the cost of inaction

This column originally appeared in the Detroit News.

“Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air, the summer's out of reach.” – Don Henley

August will soon be in our rearview mirror, and along with it the first summer on the job for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Like Henley in his 1984 classic, Michiganians may have a little voice inside their heads screaming don’t look back.  

Whitmer reversed course on campaign pledges and wasted summer months on a dilettante roadshow promoting a tax hike that was dead on arrival when there was still snow on the ground.

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Waiting is the name of the game

Bad enough that Jocelyn Benson failed her own “transparency” test, making headlines for attaching expensive price tags to FOIA requests. Her department has consistently refused to answer FOIA requests in a timely or complete manner. (The department estimated one of our requests would be completed in 2-3 weeks… and that has now grown to 2-3 months. We’re still waiting!)

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The Transparency Hypocrisy

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson apparently has something to hide, and she’s pulling out all of the stops to ensure you never figure out what it is.

Officials at the Michigan Republican Party recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Benson’s office for public records surrounding her partisan handling of the upcoming redistricting commission created by last year’s Proposal 2.

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Lawsuit Filed to Stop Commission from Disenfranchising Michiganians

Earlier this week, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to prevent the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission, established by last year’s Proposal 2, from violating Michiganians’ Constitutional rights.

The Freedom Fund’s own Tony Daunt, in his capacity as a private citizen, is the lead plaintiff in the suit.
 
The Commission unconstitutionally prohibits residents from joining if they or a family member serve or have in the last 6 years served their communities in any one of a number of roles, including as a precinct delegate to the state Democratic or Republican Parties. The rules, which brazenly violate the Constitution’s 1st Amendment right to freely associate and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection guarantees, would disenfranchise at least a half-million current Michigan residents, illegally excluding them from serving their community on the Commission.

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Transparency doesn’t come cheap!

“It’s important for citizens to simply have all the information they need and deserve so they can hold all of their elected officials accountable.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Michigan Secretary of State and self-appointed transparency advocate Jocelyn Benson has come under fire for the hefty price tag her department is assigning to FOIA requests.

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Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's Husband Named a Defendant in Detroit City Hall Cover-Up Lawsuit

A whistleblower inside the City of Detroit government has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the husband of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Ryan Friedrichs, over his alleged role in a swirling City Hall cover-up scandal.
 
The whistleblower, Kennedy Shannon, for the first time publicly leveled charges two weeks ago that “leadership of the Office of Development and Grants asked staff members to delete emails in an attempt by the Mayor’s office to hide facts regarding the (city’s) true efforts regarding fundraising for (Make Your Date).”

Secretary of State Benson’s husband is the leader of the Office of Development and Grants.

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What Good Jobs?

On July 26, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder signed the “Good Jobs for Michigan” package of bills into law. It was a massive, $200 million taxpayer-funded giveaway, rushed through the legislature in a vain attempt to lure FoxConn to Michigan. But it didn’t work.

Instead, FoxConn went to Wisconsin, and Michigan is better off for it. Wisconsin ended up offering $4.5 billion in taxpayer funded subsidies. While FoxConn promised to create 13,000 jobs and invest billions in Wisconsin, recent news reports indicate it would only create 1,500 jobs. Instead of a 20 million-square-foot Generation 10.5 factory to make 65-inch TVs, they are only building a 1 million-square-foot Generation 6 facility that produces smaller LCDs. As is often the case with corporate welfare, they over-promised and severely under-delivered.

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