Economic Development Policy
We all want to see new jobs being created, businesses expanding, and new businesses moving to Michigan. Instead of having politicians decide what the jobs should be, our state should reduce taxes and burdens as much as possible and let the market decide what the jobs will be. Instead of the state losing money by sinking it into big projects like A123 Systems, they should let the real job creators in the state, the small businesses, keep their money and decide how best to allocate it. The MEDC takes money away from lots of people and business and gives it to a few in the hope that it may create more jobs than might otherwise occur. But, around a third of MBDP deals have been or are in some stage of default and dismissal (revocation). A 2017 article by Timothy Bartik of the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Upjohn Institute, for example, argued that the state and local incentives he studied in most U.S. states may make the difference in just 6 percent of location decisions. “The other 94 percent of the time,” Bartik wrote, “the state would have experienced similar growth without the incentive.” Politicians do not have any special power to foresee the future. They don’t know you. They don’t know what decisions will be best for you. What they can do is hand out favors to their friends and the well-connected. As state representative, I will work to make Michigan an inviting place for all, not just the headline-grabbing, well-connected companies.
Like other areas, energy policy in Michigan is an area dominated by crony capitalist using the power of government to line their pockets. In December 2016, the outgoing state legislature passed what is known as the 2016 Energy Law. The key principles of the 2016 energy law were:
- To re-write the state law regulating electric utility monopolies. The bill replaced the market-driven process for new power plant capacity and site decisions with a more centralized process inspired by Obama-era regulations that were repealed in 2017.
- The bill also increased from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of power that utilities must get from renewable sources, which means hundreds of additional industrial wind turbine towers in rural communities such as the ones in Caro.
The final version left in place a small amount of electricity provider competition available to some commercial customers.
The bill was lauded as a bipartisan triumph by the very people who financially benefit from this law. The construction companies, alternative energy investors and the energy companies themselves.
Construction companies get paid to construct otherwise unneeded infrastructure. Renewable energy investors have a captured market that are required to purchase their products. The existing energy companies get to continue their monopolies, keeping out competition and increasing profits. Since the sun is not always shining and the wind is not always blowing, wind and solar energy have to be backed up by natural gas. DTE’s natural gas storage and pipelines earned the company $485 million in profits in 2017.
For all the fanfare that business stakeholders and regulators gave the bill, not much was said about the benefits to residential customers. How have they fared? One year after implementation Michigan residential customers are paying more per kilowatt hour for electricity than they were when the bill was passed. Higher than any state in the Midwest. We pay 3 cents per kilowatt hour more than the national average and 4 cents more than neighboring Indiana.
DTE estimates that it costs the average Michigan residential customer $38 more a month to electrify their home using renewable energy over what it costs now. DTE has set up a program where customers can voluntarily pay more for their energy to help DTE offset the higher production costs. People should be allowed to spend their own money how they see fit, but others spending your money is a different story. The City of Ann Arbor has decided to voluntarily pay $560,000 more a year for electricity to go 100% renewable. Customers not only have to pay higher bills themselves but will also be paying more in taxes and goods and services as these higher utility costs get past on.
As your representative, instead of mandating electricity from renewable resources, fossil fuels, nuclear or any other source, I will work to remove special favors, crony capitalist subsidies, protective market carve outs and any other forms of unique help to politically favored industries or market sectors. All producers must compete on a level playing field to ensure the best options for affordable energy for the people of Michigan.
- I endorse the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reserves to our state and its people all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, or prohibited from the states or the people by the U.S. Constitution.
- In the absence of a declaration of war by the United States Congress, I oppose any use of Michigan troops by the federal government for any purpose other than natural disaster relief.
- Individuals have the right to defend themselves and others. Article I, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution states: “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.” I oppose any law that dilutes the right of a law-abiding person to own a firearm or other means of self-defense.
- I oppose any form of discrimination by government based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other group or individual identification. Each person has the same inalienable rights that the State has a duty to protect.
- State government should be removed entirely from the licensing process, including, but not limited to, occupational licensing. It has produced no better results than private licensing and amounts to another tax. For example, marriage licenses are contracts between individuals and should be left to the individuals, their attorneys and religious officials, without the need to pay the state for a stamp of approval.
- I support returning to a part-time legislature, which is sufficient to carry out the legislative duties as prescribed by our state constitution.
- I advocate a sunset law requiring an automatic end to most government offices, agencies, departments, laws, regulations, taxes, and expenditures within ten years if not reauthorized.
- I oppose immunities for any public officials or employees for illegal acts or omissions. Like any citizen, they should be subject to criminal prosecution and held liable for any injuries caused by their actions.
- There should be maximum separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.
- The only electoral duty of the state government should be providing for fair and efficient conduct of elections. Political parties, like any private voluntary group, should be free from government control and allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures and conventions. All taxpayer-funded subsidies to candidates for public office and political parties, including primaries and conventions, should be eliminated.
- I support the addition of the alternative “None of the above is acceptable” to all ballots. I further propose that in the event that “None of the above is acceptable” receives a plurality of votes in any election, a new election shall be held for which none of the losing candidates shall be eligible. Other forms of voting should also be considered, such as instant runoff voting or proportional representation.
- Campaign finance laws are unwarranted restrictions of free speech or association and should be repealed.
- Voters should have the power of referendum on all existing or new legislation.
- I support efforts to make voting less difficult for all voters
- The current practice of forced jury duty should be replaced by volunteer juries.
- The common law authority of a trial by jury preceded our constitution and is the foundation of our legal system. If a jury of peers deems a law unjust, oppressive or inappropriately applied, it has the right and duty to acquit the defendant.
- I support the right of defendants to a fully informed jury, which would require judges to instruct jurors of their authority to judge not only the facts, but also the justice of the law according to their own good consciences. I support restitution for victims of crimes at the expense of the perpetrator. The victim should have the right to pardon the perpetrator, provided the victim is not threatened or coerced.
- Private adjudication of disputes by mutually acceptable judges or mediators should be encouraged.
- No-fault laws should be repealed because they deprive the victim of the right to recover damages from those responsible for causing harm.
- The right of trial by jury should be allowed in all civil or criminal cases.
- The use of civil asset forfeiture to enforce laws circumvents constitutional protections and should be ended.
- Random police roadblocks and other searches without probable cause bypass constitutional protections and should be prohibited.
- I support equal treatment and oppose sexual discrimination in any judicial proceeding adjudicating a parental right, privilege or obligation concerning his or her child.
- Any individual who violates the rights of another should be held liable.
- Law enforcement cannot guarantee individual safety. Self-protection is a personal responsibility. All individuals have the right to defend themselves and to possess the means to do so, as guaranteed by the state constitution Article I, Section 6.
- State prison facilities should be used only for the incarceration of individuals who have proven themselves a threat to others.
- Curfew laws should be repealed as an individual’s behavior is not the responsibility of the state or municipality.
- Laws requiring the use of seat belts and helmets are misguided, paternal, and should be repealed. Individuals must assume responsibility for their own safety.
- Government should confine itself to protecting individuals from aggression, coercion and deceit. I oppose all laws and regulations that attempt to protect individuals from the consequences of their own behavior. While not necessarily condoning such activities, I advocate the repeal of all laws criminalizing gambling, possession and sale of drugs and alcohol, and sexual relations between consenting adults. All those presently incarcerated or ever convicted solely for the commission of these victimless crimes should be pardoned and their records expunged.
- Voluntary communities may enforce rules that prohibit certain activities to which all members subscribe, such as substance-free dorms.
- Whereas taxation is theft, the legislature should find more voluntary means of supporting state services, such as lotteries and user fees.
- The income tax should be repealed.
- Taxation of privately owned real property should be eliminated. In effect, it makes the state the owner of all lands by forcing individuals to pay rent to the state or forfeit their title.
- The remaining personal property tax on Michigan businesses should be repealed.
- Tax favoritism should be illegal. Abatements, subsidies, credits, or other incentives to businesses based on geographical area, job creation, or any other criteria deny equal protection under the law.
- Sales tax on used merchandise that is resold results in double taxation and should be eliminated.
- Adding sales tax to products already subject to specific state taxes, such as gasoline and cigarettes, should be ended. This practice results in double taxation, as consumers are paying a tax on a tax.
- I oppose any sales or use tax on the Internet.
- I believe in the free market, thus the complete separation of the economy and the state.
- No commercial enterprises should be granted legal monopoly status, including the so-called natural monopolies of electricity, natural gas, water supplies, telephones, and cable television. The Michigan Public Service Commission should be abolished and all rate regulation in these industries ended. The right to offer such services in the marketplace should not be curtailed. I also call on the legislature to end the state monopoly on lotteries.
- State regulation of industries such as insurance and communications, and professions such as medicine and law, should be ended. They should be regulated by trade or consumer groups.
- The condemnation of private property for public use should only be allowed when necessary for the protection of the rights of the citizens.
- Providing for the needy by forcibly taxing others is contrary to the legitimate function of government, which is to protect the rights of everyone. Disbursing charity from a welfare system costs society more than it gains. It is inefficient, open to fraud and abuse, and creates resentment. Traditional, voluntary sources of emergency support from families, churches, private charities, and mutual aid societies have always been more humane, more effective, and willingly borne by the givers. Therefore, I call for the complete disbandment of the welfare state.
- Education is an individual or parental responsibility and best handled at the most local level. I advocate the separation of school and state.
- Because parents are best situated to decide what is in their own children’s best interests, I support all measures that enhance the educational choices available, such as charter schools, tax credits for private school tuition, and home schooling.
- Compulsory attendance and truancy laws should be repealed. Students cannot be forced to learn, and teachers should not be forced to act as juvenile delinquency officers.
- All individuals, regardless of age, are entitled to the protections of the constitutions of the United States and Michigan. Random drug tests, locker searches without probable cause, censorship of student publications, corporal punishment, or any similar actions violate those rights.
- All votes relevant to school operations, including millage proposals, bond issues and school board elections, should be placed only on the regular, biannual ballot.
- Aside from public safety, there is no greater concern for the people of Michigan than having a safe, healthy environment. I look forward to the day when all property not required for police and court functions is returned to private ownership and control.
- I call for the restoration of every individual’s ancient, common law standing to sue for trespass any individual, business, government or other group that pollutes his or her property.
- I oppose creation of new government parks or wilderness and recreation areas. Such parks and areas that already exist should be transferred to non-government ownership. Pending such transfer, their operating costs should be borne by their users rather than by taxpayers.
- I support efforts to hold all individuals, businesses and governments accountable for the pollution they cause. With respect to so-called orphan sites, where those responsible for contamination of ground or water either cannot be found or cannot be made accountable for the damage they caused, I support the use of the Natural Resources Trust Fund currently earmarked for expansion of state parks to be redirected to clean up.
- The most fundamental property right is an individual’s right to own and control his or her own body. All individuals have the right to determine their own health care needs and treatment. Exercise of this right does not remove the moral obligations not to violate the rights of others. I recognize the state, when it exists, has a duty to protect the rights of others, particularly those in society who are the most vulnerable, including: the very old, the very young, and the mentally handicapped. The state, where it exists, does have a duty to protect the life of all individuals, and should prosecute those who utilize force or fraud to end life.
- The right of people to extend or end their lives with dignity should not be infringed. I support the freedom to use living wills and durable medical powers of attorney.