BY CHRIS FAULKNOR & BENJAMIN J. GOHS
At least one candidate in Michigan’s gubernatorial race has a long-time connection with Boyne City.
And recently, while Todd Schleiger (I-Oakland County) was campaigning in Northern Michigan, his Lt. Gov. pick David Lillis visited the Boyne City Gazette office to discuss their plans for the state.
“I grew up here … and a lot of my values and everything—what I learned—came from here,” said Lillis, who talked a little about some of his early jobs around Boyne City, including having worked for the Boyne Theatre long ago.
Schleiger, who graduated from Boyne City High School in 1975, also talked about being a student of former teacher and Boyne City historian Bob Morgridge.
“The first class I had with Mr. Morgridge was South American history. Now, how, interesting could that possibly be? More than you know,” he said. “I knew all the countries. I knew all the capitals. His way of teaching … he made me want to learn.”
Lillis, who describes himself as a Reagan Democrat, said he and Schleiger, a former Republican, are offering Michigan voters a coalition of ideas which represents everyone.
“What you’re seeing in government now is … I don’t know what it is,” Lillis said. “Nothing’s getting done. Everyone is fighting, my side or your side, the other side is the enemy—well, there is no enemy.”
Lillis, who currently lives in Orion, said there is too much work which needs to be done to spend time fighting over partisan politics.
Schleiger is a business owner—Home Power Source, LLC—who claims 30 years of corporate business experience.
Lillis is a chef who ran, unsuccessfully, for the 46th District Michigan House of Representatives seat four times, from 2010 to 2016.
Lillis said one of his main goals, if elected, would be to get legislators to spend more time in their districts and listening to constituents.
“You (Michigan’s legislators) asked for the job to represent the people, you asked to get their viewpoint, you asked to go out of your way to represent them … so when you do that, when you hire me, that means I’m (a legislator) going to come back and find you,” Lillis said. “I’m going to be in the grocery store, I’m going to be in the churches on the weekends, I’m going to go above and beyond to do what my job entails.”
He added, “But, that’s not how it is now. How it is now is: elect me and I’m gonna go up to Lansing and fight for you—I have no idea who you are but thank-you for your vote and I’ll see you around.”
While he wasn’t born here, Lillis will always consider Boyne City home. To hear more about Lillis’ ideas for Michigan, and his remembrances of Boyne City, listen to the full interview at boynegazette.com.
The Schleiger-Lillis coalition has released its 2018 policy papers, which offer a look at their stances on some major issues facing Michigan residents.
“Our schools are underfunded and mismanaged,” Schleiger stated. “I will change all this. I have spoken with many teachers from different districts and different class levels. Most have shown their disdain towards common core and their short-comings in pay.”
He added, “We need to do away with common core for the simple reason it ties the hands of great and creative teachers to teach. We will still be pushing hard for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or the STEM programs.”
While the current budget for schools is $13.4 billion, Schleiger said he will raise that figure to $16 billion.
“By us investing more money into our schools and teachers, there also comes a higher sense of responsibility and accountability,” he stated. “We as a state need, and I stress the word ‘need’, to rebuild our sense of community. Our schools should be the center of the community.”
This administration will also be tackling the lottery system in Michigan.
“This system was put into place to help put additional funding into our schools,” stated Schleiger. “I will adjust the system so as to put in even more than the current 5.5 percent. It will have the effect of smaller prizes but it will be used for what it was originally intended.”
Schleiger and Lillis want to make higher education more affordable to Michiganders.
“All public four-year universities will follow (a) discounted rate to the people of Michigan,” Schleiger stated.
According to Schleiger, if your child attends Michigan public schools for the following lengths of time, they will receive the following minimum discounts: 7 years will earn them a 25 percent discount; 13 years gets you a 50 percent discount.
These available schools would include Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.
“Our public universities (13 in total) profit in upwards of over $400 million dollars,” Schleiger stated. “Some of this could be used to offset the discounts.”
He added, “As governor, the idea is to give back to our driven students and make higher education more affordable to the citizens of Michigan. This creates a demand for students to enroll in our schools and make Michigan a national leader in Education.”
Schleiger’s platform is based on three components: accountability, equality, and integrity.
“Our tax structure is way too complicated. I plan to change all that,” he stated. “We will lower some taxes and eliminate others, at the same time eliminating all the loopholes—and I mean all of them. Our Middle Class is being torn apart and left behind. Our economy and this great nation were built on the backs of the Middle Class.”
Schleiger said he will help rebuild the Middle Class by lowering the state income tax.
“In order to be fair and make a well-informed decision we will be forming a committee of our peers,” he stated. “This committee will be made up of six small business owners and six larger business owners. Together, they will put together a tax structure for the people of Michigan along with the businesses.”
Schleiger added, “This tax proposal will then be looked at by me and the legislature and senate. If it is fair and feasible, it can then be placed into Law.”
Schleiger’s new state income tax would be a flat tax with three tiers:
• $1 – $150,000 taxed at 2.5%
• $150,001 – $300,000 taxed at 4.25%
• $300,001 and up would be taxed at 6%
“By doing this, it will give 80 percent of our families in Michigan a tax break,” Schleiger stated.
“Another way we will be helping families in Michigan will be by eliminating property taxes on their primary residence only. If you own a second home you can afford to pay property tax on your second home.”
Schleiger said some have asked him how police and fire services will be funded if property taxes are cut.
“Corporate income tax was raised in 2011 to 6 percent. Does that mean all businesses are paying the same rate? No! Our businesses are paying completely different rates across the state,” he stated. “My plan is to lower this rate to 3 percent to all businesses, bringing some down to that rate—mom and pop businesses—and others up, such as banks and insurance companies.”
Schleiger said business property taxes are all over the board as well.
“Each of the 83 counties has different levels or rates,” he stated. “This will also change under my administration. We will set an average for the state. By including the elimination of all loopholes, the ‘Dark Store’ scenario will be put in check and eliminated.
According to Schleiger, Michigan’s gas taxes are deplorable.
“Over and over, the state government likes to tell the people that we only pay 19 cents per gallon of gasoline, but this is not the truth,” he stated, adding that the actual total of taxes, including federal, on a gallon of gasoline is 53.39 cents.
“Now, if we take Uncle Sam’s tax out of this total, that still leaves us with 34.99 cents per gallon of tax on gasoline, just from state taxes alone,” Schleiger stated. “But yet our state officials are only spending 13.75 cents per gallon on our roads and bridges. No wonder our roads are in such bad shape.”
Schleiger’s plan to build, maintain, and repair roads would include lowering the total gasoline tax to 48.66 but, instead of using one-third of the revenue generated for roads, all of the moneys would go to that purpose.
For more information on the Schleiger campaign, go to http://schleigerforgovernor2018.com.