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    Tag: Elsenheimer

    Governor's Wolverine power plant denial a bad decision

    By JGillman, Section News
    Posted on Sun May 23, 2010 at 10:25:48 AM EST
    Tags: Granholm, Michigan, Wolverine Power, Elsenheimer, Allen, DEQ, jobs (all tags)

    Northern Michigan economy snubbed again according to two Michigan lawmakers.

    State Senator Jason Allen and House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer on Friday expressed their strong disappointment with the Granholm administration after it denied a permit for a new power generation plant in Rogers City.

    The plant would have boosted Northern Michigan's economy with 2,500 good-paying construction jobs and established a base power generation source that would help the region to rebuild and grow for the future. Said Allen, R-Alanson of the governors choice?:

    "This latest decision is another sad chapter in a pattern of neglect by the administration,"

    "Officials have hurt our tourism industry by closing Northern Michigan state campgrounds, dragged their heels for years on establishing a state snowmobile route between Gaylord and Cheboygan and now after more than a thousand days they have pulled the plug on the Wolverine Power Company plant. The administration is leaving a painful legacy for our region of the state to grapple with for many years to come."

    The Wolverine Power Company proposed a state-of-the-art clean-coal power plant in Rogers City almost three years ago but was put on indefinite hold last year when the governor interjected another roadblock by requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct further reviews of such projects.

    (7 comments, 393 words in story) Full Story

    Deficit busting makes it a Happy Friday!

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:57:32 AM EST
    Tags: Happy Friday, deficit, Detroit, Bing, Granholm-Cherry, Cherry, Granholm, Bishop, Elsenheimer, GOP, tax hikes (all tags)

    It literally felt like it took all week to get here but the wait is over... ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, loyal RightMichigan readers and first time visitors... it is Happy Friday!

    How are each of you on this magnificent morning?  I woke up with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. (It was the theme song for Perfect Strangers, if you were wondering.)  Toss in the fact that the Tigers play two today against the hated Chicago White Sox complete with a chance to expand the percentage-points division lead and how could anyone complain on a day like today?

    Well, I mean, I know HOW folks could complain.  But if that's all you want to do then you're going to have to take that noise somewhere else.  Nobody's brining the rest of us down on a Happy Friday.  Now... to the news!

    Let's start in the Ivory Tower, which scored an encouraging exclusive interview with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.  During their private sit-down Bing announced that he'd seen the light and better, he's ready to act on the Motor City's financial troubles:

    After spending most of his first two months in office poring over Detroit's financial books and organizational structure, Bing said the city is so deeply in the red that the following measures must be taken to avoid bankruptcy:

    • The consolidation and elimination of some city departments.

    • A reduction in nonessential city services.

    • Concessions by city employees, including job losses in some cases.

    • The hiring of an outside emergency collection agency to help recoup some of the debt owed to the city.

    Bonus for Detroiters... not a new tax hike on the list.  Remember, Bing is a Democrat in a 100% Democratic City but he's also a successful businessman who knows exactly what tax increases do to current and potential job makers. The fact that he's looking to plug a $25 million deficit by right-sizing government should be enough to get every Detroiter jumping up and down. Except, maybe, for some of the over-priced bureaucrats whose jobs are suddenly in danger.  (And yes... that counts as happy news, too.)

    Bing's apparent leadership on the whole deficit issue looks even sunnier when compared to his Party's leaders in Lansing.  

    The Granholm-Cherry administration took precisely the opposite approach yesterday during their own discussions about pools of red ink but even that provided some of the better news conservatives have had in a long, long time!

    (There's a bright, shiny silver lining if you read on...)

    (3 comments, 730 words in story) Full Story

    A Message To Our Legislators - Beware False Choices

    House GOP unveiling plan to balance budget with GIANT reforms, cuts... and we've got a copy!

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:26:22 AM EST
    Tags: Budget deficit, GOP, Elsenheimer, Moss, conservatives, Republicans, cuts, reforms, tax hikes (all tags)

    Republicans acting like Republicans.  Novel concept.  I like it.  Muy much!

    RightMichigan has learned that this morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer and the caucus will be unveiling a genuinely sweeping package of budget cuts and reforms that won't only balance the books and eliminate the Granholm-Cherry administration's $1.8 billion budget deficit, it'll also free up $700 million in federal "stimulus" funds the Democrats were planning to burn on the bloated bureaucracy.  

    And all of that without raising taxes a nickel.  Which would also be a pleasant switch.

    The "Reinvigorate, Reinvest & Reform Plan" is being described by House Republicans as a comprehensive package of government reforms, targeted budget cuts and prioritized spending that protect the most essential of government services while freeing up nearly $700 million in federal stimulus funds that can be used to invest in programs that create jobs and help pump life back into Michigan's languishing economy.

    "This is a plan that shows the budget can be solved without raising taxes - it offers tangible solutions and real savings for this and next year's budget. There is no fuzzy math, no hidden agendas or falsehoods here," said Elsenheimer (R-Kewadin).

    "We offer this plan to majority caucuses, the governor, the State Budget office and most importantly, the taxpayers of Michigan. It's one solution to our crisis and anyone is welcome to use some or all parts of it. We have no pride of authorship, we only want to help balance the budget and put Michigan on the right track."

    Love that last line.  A little bit of selflessness and genuine interest in solving problems goes a long way in my book.  But I might just be sappy.

    Alright, so what does the plan actually do?  

    You can check out the entire proposal, including line-by-line, department-by-department savings and reforms by clicking the plan below.

    Big picture, the plan, among many, many other things looks to:

  • Protect jobs by preventing the next Democrat tax increase;
  • Freeze the number of state employees and the pending state employee pay raise;
  • Cap welfare benefits after four years;
  • Stimulate the economy through statewide road and bridge investments; and
  • Reinvest $50 million in small business jobs.

    Reading those bullets, though, one doesn't get a sense for just how big a package of genuine cuts and reforms (with real savings) we're talking about here.  Just a few of the other reforms and line-items found in the House GOP proposal:

  • Establish an absolute freeze to the number of full time state employees
  • Establish a hard-line travel ban
  • Eliminate prevailing wage on school construction projects
  • Prohibit rules that are more stringent than federal requirements unless specifically authorized by law (Cutting back on little bureaucratic potentates across state government)
  • Streamline school elections to two times per year
  • Require all state spending for state agencies to be publicly available on a searchable website
  • Reduce funding for top-tier administrator positions
  • Restore phone user fees for prisoners (that alone could save $5 million a year)

    That's really only scratching the surface.  This is one of the more comprehensive plans I've seen since this budget crisis really got cooking several years ago.

    Please, read on...

  • (26 comments, 769 words in story) Full Story

    Convene a Round-the-Clock Emergency Session TODAY!

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 07:49:48 AM EST
    Tags: Granholm, Cherry, 2010, budget, deficit, Senate, House, Proos, Moss, Elsenheimer, Bishop, Dillon, tax hike (all tags)

    $1.3 BILLION.

    Twenty-four hours ago we were reading startling and scary news about Michigan's state budget deficit.  $785 million, the experts told us, with a fresh $5 million added to the pool of red ink every morning and half of the fiscal year behind us.  

    Those were the days.

    By mid-afternoon the word had leaked in Lansing that things were much (much... MUCH) worse than anticipated.  $1.3 billion in red ink.  That's a rough six hours.

    Listen, we have a good time here on RightMichigan.  Our tongue is often firmly planted in cheek, we razz, we encourage, we joke, we enjoy a good bit of sarcasm and cynicism.  This is not one of those times.  

    $1.3 billion in red ink with a balanced budget requirement in the Constitution and only half the fiscal year remaining to make the cuts.  

    Dear Lansing- the fun and games are over.

    We could look back over the last few years and analyze how we got here and there's a time and a place for that, too, but this is not it.  It is time to look forward.

    The Granholm-Cherry administration was expected early next week to make $200 million in budget cuts via an executive order while asking the legislature to plaster over the rest of the deficit with one-time cash via federal stimulus funds.  Not only would that move be insufficient in light of the drastically larger deficit, it would be just plain irresponsible.  Period.

    The legislature should convene an emergency session TODAY to start making deep, drastic and yes, painful spending cuts.  If the Governor won't call an emergency session and the House won't play along then the Senate should be the adults in the Capitol City and do it themselves.

    Lieutenant Governor John Cherry and Senator Hansen Clarke should cancel their mid-day open bar lobbyist meet-and-greet fundraiser, too.  We literally cannot afford one more day of inaction and status quo.

    $1.3 billion in cuts from six months worth of a budget will not be easy and it is going to hurt like the dickens.  $1.3 billion in cuts from five months worth of a budget will hurt that much worse.  $1.3 billion from three months worth of a budget... you get the idea.

    The time is now and urgency is required.  The House GOP, for their part, is ready to rock and roll.  Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer yesterday sent to budget negotiators a substantial list of proposed spending cuts while they continue to hunt and work for more.  

    Representative Chuck Moss, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee said: "At the rate we're going, we may actually beat one of the auto companies into bankruptcy. We need drastic, immediate steps to put our state back in order. We tried the game of tax increases, look where that got us. It chased away business, foreclosed more homes, unemployment hit 12.6 percent. And we still didn't get the promised reforms. The day of reckoning is now. "

    "Clearly the governor and Democrat's plan from 2007 has failed," said state Representative John Proos, R-St. Joseph. "We were promised that the largest tax increase in state history would solve the problem, but now we're left with a larger deficit and a much larger unemployment rate. History is repeating itself because nothing changed -- no reforms, no change in spending habits, and no change in budget deficits. We learned in 2007 that tax increases are not the answer. With the state of the economy and the national economy, we simply must spend less money."

    Unfortunately, the House Minority seem to be about the only ones in Lansing taking this seriously, and that isn't just a knock on the Democratic Majority.  We could stand to see a little more leadership out of the Senate GOP, too.

    Dear House Democrats- we tried your tax hike idea in 2007 and it has done nothing but made the problem (exponentially) worse.  Spending cuts will hurt.  Bad.  A real pain in the neck.  The alternative will hurt a lot more.  

    Dear Senate Republicans- start acting like Republicans.  If the Left won't do the job (and every indication is that they won't) then it is up to you to save this state on your own even if that makes you "the bad guy."  Consider it the cost of character.

    $1.3 billion in red ink.  And the legislature isn't in an emergency 24 hour marathon session to cut spending because...?

    The sunshine and rainbows have gone away, ladies and gentlemen.  Time to get to work.

    (8 comments) Comments >>

    The Caucus Courier: Ergonomics, Transparency and Democratic Obstruction

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:32:10 PM EST
    Tags: Cox, Dillon, Elsenheimer, Opsommer, McMillin, Meltzer, Sanborn, ergonomics, transparency (all tags)

    Chalk up one more serious issue the obstructionists in the Democrat controlled House are going to have to either handle or choose to ignore at job-makers' expense.

    Approved today, Senate Bill 93, sponsored by Senator Alan Sanborn prevents mandatory ergonomics standards in the work place that would severly harm the viability of Michigan job providers.  SB 93 prohibits the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration from establishing mandatory ergonomic rules and standards.  

    The legislation was needed because, well, the Granholm-Cherry administration is a big fan of following in California's footsteps on this issue.  The Sunshine State is the only one in the union with these sorts of onerous "standards" and the cost to job makers is expected to reach $500 million or more.

    "Michigan's economy remains the worst in the nation, and if we're serious about recovery, we need to enact this bill," said Sanborn, R-Richmond Township. "Despite the lack of evidence that these rules are necessary, the administration has spent more than six years crafting mandatory standards. It's just plain bad policy, but to foist this on us during a recession borders on negligence."

    "Just the specter of joining California in implementing mandatory ergonomics rules could affect job-provider decisions to locate, expand--or even to survive--here in Michigan,"

    And before the bleeding hearts start belly-aching about carpal tunnel syndrome... Michigan's repetitive stress injury rate decreased by nearly 40 percent since 1998 without mandated ergonomic standards--better than the nationwide drop of 32 percent during that time.

    We're not talking about a choice between healthier work places or more dangerous work places.  We're talking about work places (period) or no work places (period).

    Props to the Senate for doing the right thing.  Again.  And the clock is now officially ticking on the state House.

    And speaking of the House... the Republican caucus apparently isn't as interested in wasting the taxpayers' time as Andy Dillon is.  Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer, Paul Opsommer, Kim Meltzer and Tom McMillin joined Attorney General Mike Cox today in calling on the Granholm-Cherry administration to provide a healthy dose of desperately needed transparency to their wild spending.

    Read on...

    (1 comment, 636 words in story) Full Story

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