LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, tonight issued the statement below following Governor Snyder’s State of the State address:
“From the very beginning of this term, Senate Republicans have been focused on making our state a place where our children and grandchildren want to live, work and raise a family.
Working with the Governor and the House, the Senate has passed commonsense laws that support a robust economy. As a result, Michigan companies have created nearly 500,000 private sector jobs over the past several years and more and more people continue to find work. In fact, Ottawa County in the 30th Senate District has the lowest unemployment in the state at only three percent.
Senate Republicans passed legislation last year to support the autonomous vehicle industry. Michigan was at the forefront of this innovative technology and can now boast the location of the American Center for Mobility in our state.
Growth in our economy goes hand-in-hand with the need to improve our infrastructure. Senate Republicans led the charge to craft a plan for road funding in our state. The comprehensive transportation plan prioritizes state spending, generates new revenue for a long-term solution and returns tax dollars to hardworking taxpayers. We look forward to hearing more from the Governor about his plans to update outdated infrastructure to meet the needs of our citizens.
As I mentioned, last term the Senate took action to reform our state’s largest school district as it stood on the precipice of bankruptcy. The problems that plagued the Detroit Public Schools played out on a grand scale, but the issues of that district resonate across our state.
No student should be short-changed of dollars entering the classroom because of an unsustainable retirement system and mounting debt. Future school employees and municipal employees deserve to make their own decisions about their retirement needs instead of letting government determine their future.
My colleagues and I in the Senate will look more closely at potential reforms related to legacy costs. Michigan’s retirement system may have worked for previous generations, but in its current form it continues to amass debt for future citizens.
The Senate will also tackle one of the biggest state budget expenses by passing reforms to our corrections system. We need to improve our corrections system in order to ensure justice and return capable individuals to the workforce.
The Senate has worked to reduce unnecessary regulations and taxes on businesses, but my colleagues and I want to work to reduce the tax burden of the middle class. We will discuss ways to put more money in the pockets of taxpayers. We truly believe taxpayers know how to better spend their money than government.
Senate Republicans have made accountability a recurring theme in their efforts to improve state government and this term will be no exception. Failures within the Unemployment Insurance Agency demonstrate a greater need for oversight and accountability to the citizens of Michigan. My colleagues and I are not afraid to hold bureaucracy accountable. We tackled problems in our state veterans’ home and instituted a new structure to ensure our military servicemen and women are receiving proper care after their service has ended. We will continue to look for new ways to make government more accountable to taxpayers.
Tonight, the Governor touched upon many highlights of the past year. I appreciate his taking stock of the work we have done on behalf of the taxpayers of Michigan and I look forward to continued momentum.
The Senate Republicans are prepared for another year of working with the Governor, our colleagues in the House and members on the other side of the aisle to continue to improve Michigan and reform state government.”