Archive for January, 2015

Gov. Snyder Stays Optimistic Despite Polling Data

Gov. Rick SnyderMIRS News Service report;

Gov. Rick SNYDER remained his relentless positive self this afternoon despite EPIC-MRA polling data released in the morning showing the May 5 ballot proposal losing 37 to 49 percent among “certain voters” when read a lengthy explanation on the plan.

“Well, some of those explanations are fairly long and complicated,” said Snyder, adding that he will remain focused on a simpler message of public safety, which he think will eventually trump the no-tax increase message from the other side.

“Isn’t a life more important than a dollar?” said Snyder, adding the internal polling data is “more positive” than the EPIC-MRA finding.

The EPIC-MRA survey asked 600 voters between Jan. 24-27 about the May 5 ballot proposal designed to improve Michigan’s road through a penny hike in the sales tax.

When initially presented to “certain” voters — as opposed to “likely” voters — 46 percent said they would support Proposal 1 while 44 percent say they would not.

However, once more detail about the plan is presented to them, support dropped to 37 percent and opposition grew to 49 percent. The margin of error was +/- 4.0 percent.

EPIC-MRA’s Bernie PORN said it may be because the Legislature and Governor loaded the ballot proposal with so many moving parts that a confused voting public is defaulting to voting no.

Porn said the ballot proposal has its strongest support in central Michigan (52 to 35 percent), followed by the Outer Metro Detroit region (50 to 40). It does the worst in Northern Michigan (58 to 37 percent).

Younger voters (aged 18-34) were more supportive (59 to 28 percent) than those aged 49-6, who opposed it 49 to 38 percent.

College educated voters liked it 49 to 39 percent while those with a high school diploma or less opposed it 47 to 38 percent. Women are voting “yes” 48 to 36 percent while all mean slightly opposed 46 to 44 percent.

The following information was read to survey respondents:

“Now I would like to read a more detailed statement about Proposal 1. Increasing the state sales tax from 6 to 7cents would raise about 1.6 billion dollars per year, with 1.3 billion dollars going to state road, street and bridge improvements; 300 million dollars per year in new increased funding going to local public schools, equal to about $200 per pupil; 112 million dollars going to mass transit services; and 95 million dollars in increased revenue sharing going to local governments. The sales tax increase would replace the 752 million dollars in revenue that currently goes to schools and local governments that has been generated by the existing 6 percent sales tax charged on gasoline at the pump, which would be eliminated. Also, the existing gas tax and diesel fuel tax would be replaced with a tax charged at the wholesale level, resulting in an estimated 3 cent per gallon gas tax increase above 2013 levels. Vehicle registration fees would increase by eliminating a 10 percent per year discount new car buyers receive for the first three years they own their cars, as well as increasing registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles, which will raise an additional 45 million dollars. It will also increase annual fees for heavy commercial trucks by 50 million dollars. The Earned Income Tax Credit, which was reduced in 2011, would be fully restored; which will provide about $300 per year in tax relief for low-income families. Universities would no longer be funded from the state School Aid Fund, meaning funding from that source could only be used for local public schools and community colleges.”

If Proposal 1 were to pass, all current gasoline taxes would be scrapped for a new wholesale gasoline tax that would shift roughly $1.2 billion in new revenue to the roads. While drivers likely wouldn’t see a price difference with the new tax, they would see a one-cent higher sales tax (6 to 7 percent).

The proceeds of that additional penny would go to what the current sales tax on gasoline pays for — schools and local governments, in particular. The proposal also freezes annual driver registration fees, which is expected to raise $45 million and raises truck fees $50 million.

The proposal raises about an addition $300 million for schools, restores the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor and steers $40 million to “at-risk” schools, among other reforms.

Other Polling Data
– Other data from the EPIC-MRA poll shows 60 percent of respondents believe Michigan is headed in the right direction, which is up from 52 percent in December.

– 71 percent said Michigan’s economy has bottomed out and is now improving.

– Snyder has a 54 percent favorable ranking with 50 percent giving him a positive job ranking.

Traverse City Activist Files Complaint Against Gov. Snyder For Pro-Prop 1 Spiel


A Grand Traverse County Tea Party activist is filing a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Rick SNYDER for publicly advocating for a “yes” vote on the upcoming road funding ballot proposal six times during the State of the State address.

Jason GILLMAN, of the conservative blog, said he understands an elected official has the legal authority to endorse or oppose a ballot question, but Gillman argues Snyder stepped into expressed advocacy by bringing up what will become Proposal 1 during the televised annual address.

“I would just like them to pay attention to the law,” Gillman said. “If, as a business owner, I screw up my paperwork, I’m going to get crushed with the full force and authority of the government. You can’t have it both ways. If I’m going to go by the law, he’s got to go by the law.”

Gillman filed a successful campaign finance complaint with the Bureau of Elections in 2012 against the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) system for sending out a mailer that asked recipients to “support the continuation of the TCAPS long-term infrastructure improvement plan.”

However, the case Gillman is bringing to the Bureau of Elections may closer resemble a case in Saline that state officials addressed last year, in which the Saline City Council passed a resolution in support of the Personal Property Tax revenue replacement measure, according to one state official.

The City of Saline held a community forum to talk about the proposal and the Mayor spoke in favor of it, but the city didn’t go out of its way to spend any city dollars to directly advocate for the proposal outside of its normal governmental operations.

The same could be argued in the case of Snyder, who spoke the words during a statewide address he was going to make anyway.

According to the Secretary of State, the Governor isn’t allowed to hand out “Vote Yes” placards out of the Capitol, tape a lawn sign to his office window or use his phone or e-mails for campaign purposes.

“We don’t think there’s a violation there,” said Fred WOODHAMS of the Secretary of State’s office.

Gillman said he would still push the matter.

“There are things that are problems and he doesn’t care. Someone has to slap his hand. You can’t do things like say ‘vote for’ something six times in a public forum,” he argues. “This was a campaign ad. Frankly, if this isn’t a violation, than the whole provision of public officials speaking out in favor a ballot proposal is moot. It shouldn’t be in the law.”

Snyder Press Secretary Sara WURFEL said the Gillman’s claim has “zero merit.”

“As the chief executive of the state, the Governor clearly has a role and responsibility on public policy matters. We have reviewed all laws carefully and closely and the Governor is fully within his right to discuss his position,” she said.


ACRP Minutes – Nov. 17th Monthly Meeting

ACRP Meeting  Minutes – November, 17th. 2014  Forest Home Twp. Hall, Bellaire, MI

Continued after ACRP County Convention:

Tom Stillings: Report on Thank you letter from Att. General Bill Schutte, recognizing Antrim County, along with Emmet, for pulling the largest number of votes of all other counties in Northern MI.

Laura Bogdan: Treasurer’s Report, $ x,xxx.xx  Corporate Acct.  $ x,xxx.xx State Acct.

Tom Sommerfeldt: Reminded members to pay 2015 dues. Randy will be sending e-mail reminder: You can pay dues with Credit Card, on line at Click on “DONATE” top of page:   Enter Republican friends and neighbors e-mail address under “Subscribe to E-mail updates” on the site : e-mail will be sent inviting them to accept.  Important to build party membership in preparation for 2016.

Discussion on whether to ask for resignation of James Braun, an elected Republican Precinct Delegate,  because of his involvement in spearheading a recall election against fellow Republicans on the Elk Rapids Township Board. Graydon DeCamp: spoke on behalf of Braun. Tom Sommerfeldt: Problems were Issue based, not political: Jim Gurr: Electorate has spoken, recall failed, will vote to keep Braun. ER Township Board Members targeted in recall, offered their input on matter. Tom Stillings: As a matter of procedure, made a motion that Braun be asked to resign as precinct delegate. 2nd. Dr.Hoadley:  Motion defeated. Braun will not be asked to resign.

Six members volunteered to serve on the ACRP Executive Committee: Jim Gurr: Dawn LaVanway: Cherie Hogan: Greg Valerio:  Patty Niepoth: Bill Bailey:  Randy asked for any additional volunteers: Bill White, Mike Bertram and Gerald Averill also volunteered,  for a total of nine, plus the four Executive Board members, for a total of thirteen.

Triston Cole: motion to amend bylaws:  to allow for the election of the nine executive committee members at a future meeting.  Tom Stillings: 2nd. Elected precinct delegates voted unanimously in favor. Tom Stillings: moved nominations be closed. 2nd. Jim Gurr

Randy Bishop:  Need to join with other influential GOP groups. Grow the party, raise money for 2016. Oakland and Kent Counties, operate with a goal of 1% membership based on population.  Last census in Antrim County was 24,580. Our goal should be 246 members attending our monthly meetings.  Third Annual Fun Day Event already scheduled on ACRP web site. Don Lukins: Shared ideas on getting information out to the public, grow the party.

Randy Bishop: Committees will be formed at next meeting in January. Discusssion on endorsement of candidates. Asking Republican candidates and elected officials to join ACRP?  Move meetings around the county?

Vote of elected precinct delegates to allow amending the ACRP by laws via a committee to be formed at next meeting. Passed unanimously.

Dawn Lavanway gave update on status of her election results. Election was certified today. She has asked for a recount in Echo and Jordan Townships.

Jimmy Argo invited members to his home for ACRW meeting and lunch.

9:00 p.m. Tom Sommerfeldt: Motion to adjourn   2nd: Jim Gurr

ACRP Minutes – Nov. 17, 2014 County Convention

Antrim County Republican Party County Convention
November, 17th. 2014  Forest Home Twp. Hall, Bellaire, MI
ACRP Chairman Randy Bishop, called convention to order at  7:33 p.m. Pledge: Randy Bishop, Prayer: Tom Sommerfeldt.
A proposed slate of volunteers willing to serve on the Executive Board was sent out to all members in an e-mail on November 7th. The slate consisted of Randy Bishop, as Chairman, Tom Stillings, as Vice Chair, Laura Bogdan, as Treasurer and Priscillla Miller, as Secretary. A request was made, for anyone interested in serving for any of the above mentioned positions to respond to the e-mail. Secretary Priscilla Miller, confirmed there were no replies received.
Motion: Cherie Hogan: to vote on proposed slate, 2nd. Greg Valerio.
Graydon DeCamp: Question regarding ACRP Bylaws regarding Article IV: Officers I. Designation: “a Vice Chair shall be of the opposite sex of the Chairperson.” Randy Bishop: State Party has amended this rule. ACRP Bylaws need to be  revised to also reflect this.
Ed Boettcher: Expressed concerns with behavior of ACRP Officers, need to become more inclusive, need to unite. Tom Stillings: Remembers when there were more candidates at ACRP meetings than members! With number of members present, we must be doing something right! Growth trend in last four years “astounding.” Antrim County did a “bang up” job, had largest percentage of Republican votes in Northern MI. Don Lukins: Suggested we get on with the agenda and then address some of these issues and move forward, give us something to work at instead of throwing rocks, focus on beating our opponents. Laura Bogdan: Has seen the party grow and witnesses differences within members of the party, being resolved. Mike Bertram: Learn to agree to disagree, we are a team. Jim Gurr: Need to stop quibbling, really pleased with how much party has grown, need to move forward.
Vote on Executive Board Slate: Passed unanimously.
7: 52 Convention ajourned
Respectfully Submitted,
Priscilla Miller
ACRP Secretary

Will New Legislature Be More Conservative? Stats Say Definitely

The popular theory in town is that things are about to get more conservative in the Legislature for the 2015-2016 session. And the statistics back it up.  Based on voting records from the last four years, the numbers point to three key conclusions.

— One, House Republicans who will return to the chamber this session tended to vote more conservatively than those who left the chamber.

— Two, Senate Republicans who will return to the Senate tended to vote more conservatively than those who left the chamber.

— Three, the new GOP leaders who will call the shots on the agenda in Lansing voted much more conservatively than the previous leaders — and they differed on some of the biggest issues of last session.

So if history is any indication, the Legislature is poised to take a step to the right.

Each year, MIRS ranks voting records of all 110 House members on a conservative-liberal spectrum. The higher the percentage ranking, the more conservative the person’s voting was. The rankings are based on dozens of votes the lawmakers cast in the previous year.

Using those rankings from the last four years, MIRS looked at the averages for all the Republicans who served in the Legislature last term.

For the House, the 37 GOP members returning to the chamber — 27 who had four years of rankings and 10 who had two years — averaged a conservative ranking of 72.04 percent.

In comparison, the 22 Republicans who left the House at the end of 2014 — all of which had four years of rankings — averaged a conservative ranking of 70.8 percent.

That’s a difference of 1.24 percentage points.

The divide is wider when you compare the new House Republican leadership to the previous House Republican leadership.

Over the last four years, the 2013-2014 leadership team — the speaker, floor leader, speaker pro tem, whip and Appropriations Committee chair — average a conservative ranking of 68.35 percent:

– Former Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall), 66.5 percent

– Former Floor Leader Jim STAMAS (R-Midland), 65.25 percent

– Former Speaker Pro Tem John WASLH (R-Livonia), 65.25 percent

– Former Whip Pete LUND (R-Shelby Twp.), 78.5 percent

– Former Appropriations Chair Joe HAVEMAN (R-Holland), 66.25 percent

The Republicans who will fill those positions for 2015-2016 averaged a conservative ranking of 74.0 percent.

– Speaker Kevin COTTER (R-Mt. Pleasant), 78.25 percent

– Floor Leader Aric NESBITT (R-Lawton), 75 percent

– Speaker Pro Tem Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt), 80.5 percent

– Whip Rob VERHEULEN (R-Walker), 66 percent

– Appropriations Chair Al PSCHOLKA (R-Stevensville), 70.25 percent

As for the Speaker job alone, Bolger averaged a ranking of 66.5 percent over the last four years. Cotter averaged a ranking of 78.25 percent. That’s a 11.75 percentage point difference.

The difference at the top of the chamber is similar in the Senate.

Over the last four years, former Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) averaged a conservative ranking of 72.75 percent. New Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) averaged a conservative ranking of 79.75 percent. That’s a difference of 7 percentage points.

Likewise, the seven Senate Republicans who left the chamber at the end of 2014 tend to vote less conservatively than those who stayed.

The departing GOP senators averaged a conservative ranking of 74.25 percent. But the returning GOP senators averaged a conservative ranking of 77.3 percent.

If the voting trends continue and freshman members vote similarly to returning members, both Republican caucuses will be slightly more conservative next term.

That’s been the assumption of many political watchers in Lansing.

“All you have to do is compare Meekhof to Richardville,” said Bill BALLENGER, a former GOP state lawmaker and founder of the newsletter Inside Michigan Politics.

As for the House leadership, Ballenger said he doesn’t expect Cotter to move to the political middle in his new role as speaker.

“If Cotter is more conservative than Bolger going into the job, chances are he is going to stay more conservative,” Ballenger said. “Because his caucus is going to be conservative.”

On top of that, Ballenger noted that there’s a “wild-eyed troika” of Tea Party-backed Republicans in the House who will be trying to push the caucus further to the right.

The Republicans’ conservative efforts may have already started with both chambers introducing bills to repeal the prevailing wage as their first proposals of the new session (See “GOP Lawmakers Push Prevailing Wage Repeal; Snyder Doesn’t Support It,” 1/15/15).

“It’s almost like they’re throwing down the gauntlet right away,” Ballenger said.

On the differences in voting by House leadership then-and-now, they’re not hard to find.

Cotter, Floor Leader Nesbitt, and Speaker Pro Tem Leonard all voted against Medicaid expansion in 2013. Bolger, former Floor Leader Stamas and former Speaker Pro Tem Walsh all voted for it.

Likewise, Meekhof voted against it while Richardville voted for it.

In 2014, there was a similar difference on a bill to extend the sunset on the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which financially supports economic development programs like Pure Michigan.

Cotter, Nesbitt, Leonard and Meekhof voted no. Bolger, Stamas, Walsh and Richardville voted yes.

On a bill to extend a sunset on the state’s film incentive program, Cotter, Nesbitt and Leonard voted no. Bolger, Stamas and Walsh voted yes. Meekhof and Richardville both voted yes on that proposal.

T.J. BUCHOLZ, president of Vanguard Public Affairs, said he expects both Meekhof and Cotter to be more conservative than their predecessors.

As for the rest of the Republican caucuses, some members may simply be reflecting changes in their districts in their voting. Bucholz said many districts in Northern Michigan are trending more conservative.

And the overall political process, he said, is becoming more polarized — both Democrat and Republican.

“I think prevailing wage is the first salvo of many,” said Bucholz, who noted that Gov. Rick SNYDER vetoed a series of Republican-backed bills on Thursday.

He added, “You may see Gov. Snyder become more of the moderate that people thought they elected in 2010.”


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s Inauguration Speech – Jan. 1, 2015

Brian Calley with FlagsBy – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley;  My speech today at the inauguration:

Let me start by saying thank you to my wife Julie and my children, Collin, Reagan and Karagan. I love you all dearly. You give purpose and meaning to my life, and I would truly be lost without you.

Four years ago, a new day was dawning on a very weary state. An entire generation had grown up knowing only a Michigan in decline. The state that invented the American middle class was reeling and shrinking.

The people of Michigan took a chance on an accountant and entrepreneur who had never before held a political office. When others saw problems too big for a divisive and broken political system to handle, he saw opportunities to prove to the world that Michigan’s best days were yet ahead.

Today, Michigan is on the rise. On the rise with jobs, income, home values and population. Most importantly, hope is on the rise again.

We can now see a better and stronger future for our children and our grandchildren. We can imagine them making a life and building a family here because opportunity is being restored. We honor our past, but we do not cling to it as before… Instead, we embrace the future for all that it can be.

The Michigan story is and always has been about the potential of its people. Their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations will set our best course forward.

Let us, those entrusted with constitutional offices, seek the wisdom of God Almighty… and the promise of our people, as we move toward a future defined only by the limitless potential of those who call Michigan home.

May God forever bless Michigan.


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