House Republicans Set Agenda

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

"Make no mistake, we understand difficult decisions are ahead, we understand, for our state's long term gain, short term pain is necessary," said House Speaker Jase Bolger during a press conference Thursday morning at the Capitol.

He foreshadowed what he anticipates to be a tough job of balancing the budget.

"We look to have all things on the table that would make Michigan a more competitive place to provide jobs. That means having a difficult conversation," said Bolger.

Difficult dialogue with two parties that Bolger believes will work together on a common goal -- strengthening the state's economy.

"It does not mean we're always going to agree," said Bolger. "I have a good relationship with leader Hammell and looking forward to continuing that."

"My hopes are high -- we'll see how much they'll get us involved," said Rep. Richard Hammel (D) Minority Leader. "It'll not deter us from making statements about our priorities and the fact that we're going to be protecting working families."

Bolger spoke on three pillars that their agenda targets: spending and government, taxes and regulation, with the bigger goal of job creation.

The house leadership says they are keen on not raising taxes, but there are only so many options when it comes to balancing a budget and that has many wondering where the cuts will be coming from.

"We will review all tax credits to see what works, what doesn't, what's appropriate and not. We'll seek to cap and eliminate many," said Bolger.

And when it comes to state employees ---

"It's benefits, it's healthcare benefits, it's retirement benefits, it's all compensation that the employee receives," said Bolger. "I hope it happens at the bargaining table with the governor. But if it doesn't happen there, it has to happen as a part of this budget."

It's sentiment that Rep. Jim Stamas, House Majority Floor leader mirrors.

"State employees are a huge part of the state -- they are a huge expense but also the ones that get the job done so we want to make sure we look all the way across and not limit to one specific group," said Stamas.

On Thursday, the House took up discussion of eliminating the Michigan Business tax.

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