2017-07-20 / Opinion

Two Good Moves for Michigan

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Legislatively, there were good moves in Lansing and Washington for Michigan last week impacting issues on land and sea.

In Lansing, the state House, with broad bipartisan support, passed on a 71- 35 vote, a three-bill Senate-approved package of tax incentives for business hailed by Governor Rick Snyder.

He said: “We are now enacting forward-thinking policies that make us more competitive for new jobs and industries in a fiscally responsible fashion.”

Press reports (including a lead front page story in the Detroit Free Press) specifically say it might help to lure Michigan Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn, which makes screens for televisions and cell phones.

The Associated Press said the plant would have 5,000 employees, and as many as six other states may be in the hunt for the factory or other Foxconn projects.

In Washington, where Michigan and its neighbors have had many struggles on economic and environmental issues with the Trump administration, there was an early and inclusive encouragement on an issue oft cited in this space.

The House Appropriations Committee released legislation fully funding a $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Program that, as noted here periodically, has been proposed for elimination by President Donald Trump.

But releasing the legislation, while significant, is far short of passage. Full House and Senate votes must be held. But it’s significant that there’s bipartisan stirring against Trump’s cut.

U.S. Representative John Moolenaar (R-Midland) said: “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative does vital work across Michigan to protect the Great Lakes and the streams, rivers, and lakes that run into them. This important priority for our state is funded in today’s legislation.”

U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), of neighboring Toledo, said it well: “It is still beyond me why the president, whose political fortune is so tied to the Great Lakes states, cut funding for such a valuable environmental and economic resource as the Great Lakes.”

U.S. Representative David Joyce (R-Ohio) said: “Multiple administrations have yet to see the wisdom of protecting this national treasure at the level it deserves and it is incumbent that the Great Lakes legislators continue to do the heavy lifting to protect it.”

Troubled Times for Stabenow?

Former President George W. Bush political guru Karl Rove, writing in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Troubled Times for 10 Senate Democrats,” cited Stabenow among four Democratic senators in states where President Trump’s margin of victory ranged from 0.2% to 1.2%.

He said, “None of them can take reelection for granted.”

Michigan’s Democratic senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and such House members as 1st District Representative Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) are among those doing precisely that.

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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