The 2018 Gubernatorial election is approaching fast and Michigan is at a crossroad. The state has made broad economic gains since the Great Recession but still faces significant hurdles. We have terrible roads and a crumbling infrastructure, public schools that rank near the bottom in the country, environmental challenges ranging from continued water woes in Flint to Great Lakes threats and chemical contaminants in the ground. There are too few young people going to college and not enough workers to fill skilled jobs.
This election also offers the clearest choice between parties with the starkest ideological contrasts in recent memory. The Republican primary winner, Bill Schuette, has been the States Attorney General for the past eight years and has tied his Candidacy to the popularity of President Donald Trump. Opposing him will be a more moderate Democrat, Gretchen Whitmer, who has strong union and establishment support. Her experience includes being the state’s former Senate Minority Leader.
Schuette vows to shore up education and roads while at the same time calling for less government and lower taxes, typical rhetoric from an administration that in the last eight years succeeded in shifting the tax burden from corporations to individuals. In 2011 Corporate taxes made up 12.2 percent of the state’s general fund revenues. By 2017 that amount dropped to 6.4 percent or nearly half as much. In the meantime, Personal Income tax revenues which supply the state’s main checking account surged from 47 percent to 53 percent. The past Republican administrations idea of less government included appointing Emergency Managers to every major municipality in the state including Flint, where the health of children was put in jeopardy.
Whitmer’s Democratic platform includes, increased funding for education, and infrastructure improvements. According to Whitmer, “putting thousands of Michiganders to work rebuilding our roads, updating our electrical and heating grids, ensuring that everyone has access to clean water, and high-speed internet are priorities.” She wants to raise the minimum wage, repeal the retirement tax, as well as Right to Work, and offer high school graduates two years of debt-free community college in skilled trades training or the equivalent aid for attending a four-year university. Whitmer states that “Many Michigan families are struggling to get by. We have an economy of Haves and Have-Nots.” This November there is only one candidate who has supported working families her entire career. My choice is Gretchen Whitmer!