Granholm: A race to the top

Morgan Morel
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JACK DOEHRING
Morgan Morel

By Jamie Ruth

When I joined 26 College Democrats going door-to-door in the Upper Peninsula during fall study break, one thing became abundantly clear: The negative campaign ads filling the airwaves do little to inform voters of the crucial choice they face at the ballot box on Nov. 7.

Michigan’s gubernatorial race presents us with an opportunity to weigh in on one of the most pressing issues facing our generation. Will we secure our future by submitting to the race-to-the-bottom, cling-to-the-past mentality embraced by Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s opponent? Or will we cast our ballots for a governor with the long-term vision – and extensive plan – to thrive in a race to the top?

The negative ad wars could lead some to believe that this election involves little more than a choice between the lesser of two subpar candidates. This could not be further from the truth.

I am proud of what Granholm has accomplished for Michigan in her past four years as governor. She has triumphed over seemingly insurmountable obstacles and put Michigan back on track to hold its rightful place as an economic powerhouse and incubator of progressive policies.

She has accomplished all this while eliminating the $4-billion deficit left behind by Michigan’s previous DeVos-esque governor, John Engler. Now, she is the only candidate with the intention – and the plan – to close the $2-billion budgetary shortfall left by the pending repeal of the Single Business Tax.

Meanwhile, Granholm’s $3.8-billion “Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow” program has created and retained 130,000 jobs in Michigan.

She has accomplished this not through blanket tax breaks to any and all businesses, but through incentives targeted at businesses that will generate sustainable jobs and investment in Michigan. She has literally gone halfway around the world (twice, to Japan), bringing thousands of jobs to Michigan.

Michigan will never be able to compete with developing countries like China and Mexico on wages and taxes in a race to the bottom – nor should we. Granholm knows this better than anyone, and she is investing $2 billion as part of her “Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow” plan. The 21st Century Jobs Fund has already attracted dozens of companies creating jobs in emerging sectors like biotechnology and renewable energy, and it will revolutionize Michigan’s economy much as the auto industry did a century ago.

To compete in a race to the top, Michigan must make higher education more affordable, and Granholm is the only candidate with a specific plan to double the number of college graduates in the state. Michigan has some of the finest public universities in the country, and Granholm’s $4,000 scholarship program will open up more educational opportunities to Michigan residents and make Michigan more competitive on a global level.

But being competitive in the global market is about more than just education. Until we lower the roughly $1,500 health care bill that goes into every American-made car, Michigan automakers will continue to fall further behind. That’s why Granholm is committed to following the lead of other developed nations by providing universal health care for Michigan residents. She has pursued this not just as a moral imperative, but also as an essential ingredient of any globally competitive economy.

Granholm also knows that Michigan will not be a beacon of any form of progress if we slip back on key social issues while trying to maintain old-fashioned social norms. While her opponent panders to religious extremists, remarking last week that he’d be “thrilled” if Roe v. Wade was overturned, Granholm will never shy away from her belief in a woman’s right to choose. Nor will she tolerate theocrats (and Republican legislators) obstructing life-saving stem-cell research in Michigan.

As the debates have shown, this gubernatorial race is a face-off between radically different visions for our future. Granholm’s accomplishments restored dignity to the state by shifting us from powerless participation in a race to the bottom to proactive progress in a race to the top. Re-elect Granholm on Nov. 7, and she will continue to do so.

Ruth is an LSA senior and chair of the campus chapter of the College Democrats.

DeVos: Cut taxes, bring jobs now

By Rob Scott

There’s a place you might like to familiarize yourself with during your four years at the University: 3655 South State Street, the location of Ann Arbor’s U Haul. For 47 percent of you, it will be your first stop after receiving your diploma. Facts like this are not talking points, they are not subject to “fuzzy math,” and they cannot be spun in campaign commercials. These are the realities of the state’s economy for us and for everyone in Michigan.

Dick DeVos has toured this state extensively and spoken with thousands of Michiganders to understand the reality of this economy for them. The solutions he offers are not designed to supplement a campaign slogan or create the image of action; they are necessary to solve Michigan’s problems. His plan recognizes the need not for jobs today or jobs tomorrow, but instead for change now. No governor has ever created a single wealth-producing job. Governors employ people out of the pockets of you, the taxpayer. It is an economy that creates jobs for a state.

Dick DeVos’s plan for Michigan’s economic turnaround recognizes the need for a tax and regulatory structure that makes Michigan stand out from the crowd. In the increasing competition of the global market place, being among the best is not good enough – it is the leaders that thrive. Reversing Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s anti-business government mentality is essential to encouraging new growth and promoting up-and-coming small businesses in Michigan.

The most obviously needed reform is the repeal of the Single Business Tax. This job-killing tax, which falls primarily on small business owners, increases taxes when an employer increases wages or adds healthcare coverage. Clearly, this is not a policy friendly to employers who care about the well-being of their employees or expanding their small businesses. Employers also have to pay the SBT regardless of whether or not they turn a profit – harming entrepreneurial young companies that may not yet be profitable.

A second major tax, one that Granholm pathetically defends, is the Personal Property Tax. This tax on the commercial goods and property of Michigan’s businesses encourages companies to maintain older, less-valuable equipment in Michigan and actually penalizes businesses for investing in newer, cutting-edge equipment by increasing their tax liability. Growing businesses in need of modern equipment clearly have an incentive to look to other states that encourage and support their growth as long as this tax exists in Michigan.

Granholm has had four years to change Michigan’s economy and make this state more competitive. Instead, she has chosen to focus on government spending as a means to produce jobs. The results have been clear – the country’s worst state economy and one job lost every 20 minutes since she took office. As a failing leader, Granholm has blamed the administration in Washington for her disastrous job losses and has ignored the fact that Michigan is in the midst of a single-state recession. Dick DeVos has taken the time to understand the problems Michigan’s workers and employers face, and he offers comprehensive solutions to address them.

Just as necessary as DeVos’s plan to provide a competitive tax structure is the need to maintain an educated, talented workforce that puts Michigan ahead of its competition. Granholm’s failed promises to preserve reasonable tuition in the state have taken a toll directly on the pockets of Michigan families and on the dreams of Michiganders who can’t afford the soaring rates at the state’s public universities. Tuition increases of almost twice the national average serve as an example of Granholm’s failure to protect Michigan’s future. Instead of promising a $4,000 taxpayer-supported credit for education, Granholm should first explain how she intends to adequately fund higher education to curb these skyrocketing tuition costs. DeVos recognizes the importance of maintaining affordable education through reasonable tuition.

Michigan is in need of a new direction and a new approach to improving our state. DeVos has promised a new attitude in Lansing that will foster growth and opportunity for Michigan’s future. His experience and success as a businessman in this state, coupled with his genuine concern for Michigan’s future, are exactly the type of stewardship we need to lead Michigan toward a vibrant, growing economy again. I hope that like me, you’ll choose to stand up and support this change on Nov. 7.

Scott is an LSA senior and chair of the campus chapter of the College Republicans.

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