“We’re on a mission from GOD.”

Our 1st hour discussion today, Friday 4-28-17;

Leonard Prefers MPSERS Over Income Tax Cut As Part Of Budget

A $39.4 billion state government spending plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 moved out of the House Appropriations Committee today with roughly $280 million left on the balance sheet and a majority Republican caucus eyeing teacher pension reform as a top priority.

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) told reporters today that his caucus would like to see individual tax relief, retiring debt and putting more money into infrastructure as top priorities after having trimmed $272 million off of Gov. Rick SNYDER's budget recommendation.

But when asked which of the three would be his top priority, Leonard said, "I think I've been very clear from the day that I've been elected speaker of the house back in November that my top priority was fixing our broken teacher retirement system or MPSERS. My absolute top priority since the day I was elected speaker of the house. If that is something we can get accomplished, I'm for it."

This puts Leonard on the same page of Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-Olive Twp.), who told MIRS on Friday that reforming the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System was his top budgetary priority for FY '18 (See "Meekhof Broaching MPSERS Discussion Again," 4/21/17).

Despite efforts from Snyder and Republican lawmakers to curtail the rising unfunded liability with MPSERS, a report released last month bumped up on-paper debt in the teacher pension's system from $26.7 billion to $29.1 billion. It went from roughly 63 percent funded to 60.1 percent funded.

Part of that rise is due to a lower rate of return, but fiscal conservative think tanks are questioning if the state has a proper handle on the costs.

Leonard's comments run counter to the House Republicans' zeal to move an income tax rollback this session, which would prevent a standoff with Snyder over the issue (See "House Income Tax Cut Dies In Dramatic Fashion," 2/22/17).

Reporters asked the Governor today if he was "enthusiastic about a tax rollback," to which he responded, "I don't see a rollback really being that viable at this point in time. I think that is challenging."

Snyder said Michigan government does not have a lot of "on-going dollars" to do an income tax rollback. Michigan does have some one-time funds at its disposal, which leaves him more amenable to potentially a one-time tax rebate.

Leonard said, "We'll see how the discussions go. I'm proud of the fact that our appropriations committee did their due diligence, did their work, scaled back the budget. And now we can have those conversations."

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4323, the "Big Bus" omnibus bill, includes funding for everything except K-12 funding, higher education and community colleges. It uses $8.39 billion in General Fund spending. Spending within the budget was not substantively changed from what moved out of the various appropriations subcommittees.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia) said the committee's goal was to spend less state money in FY '18 than it is doing this year. And it was all achieved "with a 2.2 percent reduction in the state budget."

"This budget prioritize issues that are important to Michigan residents -- schools, higher education, public safety, physical and mental health," Cox said. "I am proud of the fiscal responsibility demonstrated by the subcommittee chairs and the hard work they put into drafting an efficient and accountable budget that works for all Michiganders."

The budget bill moved to the House floor for expected action next week along a party-line vote. Rep. Robert KOSOWSKI (D-Westland) and Rep. Sylvia SANTANA (D-Detroit) opted not to vote on reporting the bill.

Rep. Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit) and other Democrats voted against the budget, saying House Republicans were making room "to give massive tax breaks to their wealthy friends."

"We all know that Michigan families are in desperate need of tax relief, but this is not the way to go about doing it," Durhal said. "We cannot decimate critical programs like Meals on Wheels or the Michigan Conservation Corps, or continue to slash revenue sharing and other funds for local municipalities, and expect people to want to live in Michigan."
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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 4-27-17;

Grassroots activists - Bob Cushman wants to draft State Senator Patrick Colbeck (his State Senator) to run for the Republican nomination in 2018; Click on this link for details

www.facebook.com/groups/1881070272138890/
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Thursday 4-27-17;

Former Republican National Committeeman and State Rep. - Dave Agema called in to talk about why Lt. Gov. - Brian Calley should NOT be the Republican nominee in 2018 to be Michigan's next Governor;
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Special Thursday show,..."Michigan's next Governor"!!! 9 am - Noon ...

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Our 1st hour discussion today,...Tuesday 4-25-17;

Michigan's Lt. Gov. - Brian Calley put out a video ad, which leads to an announcement on 5-30-17 about his political future;
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I’ve sure learned a lot and used that experience to help everyone in Michigan live a better life. Please watch my new video to learn more --> share.briancalley.com/fbv

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ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos opening line; "Trump's - First 100 Days"; Only one of his ten bills have even been introduced; ...

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NBC's "Meet the Press", opening line; President Trump's 1st 100 Days of flip-flops, failures, flunking grades in the polls. ...

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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Thursday 4-20-17;

Another Marine Eyes 1st Congressional Bid

A Democrat U.S. Marine is eyeing Michigan's sprawling 1st Congressional District.

Today, retired Marine Corps officer Matt MORGAN announced a 2018 bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District just recently won by retired U.S. Marine Lt. General Jack BERGMAN.

Like the Dems' 2014 nominee, Jerry CANNON, Morgan has a background with the Marines and has lived in Kalkaska.

Lately, he has worked as an independent military consultant and as an advocate for helping facilitate access to health care and post-combat related mental health services for vets. In 2016, he produced the Smithsonian documentary The Unknown Flagraiser of Iwo Jima, which featured the positive identification of a previously known Michigan native.

"Since leaving the Corps, I've felt that I could be doing more to help Northern Michigan and the U.P.," said Morgan. "Families work two jobs and can't make ends meet. One in five children go to be hungry each night in our hometowns. Entire communities miss out on new opportunities because we lack basic infrastructure, like high-speed Internet and reliable roads, which attract modern employers. We deserve better."

Morgan is a 1993 graduate of the University of Illinois and was commissioned an officer in the Marine Corp. He served more than 20 years in uniform and is a veteran of the Iraq war. He served three years deployed overseas from the Middle East to the horn of Africa. At home, he served at various levels of command including in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under both Republican and Democratic administrations where he focused on policy and initiatives aimed at securing vulnerable populations against violent extremism.

After retiring as a Lt. Colonel, Matt and his wife, Angie, who grew up in L'Anse and Kalkaska, returned to Michigan.

Democrats last held the 1st Congressional District with U.S. Rep. Bart STUPAK in 2010. He opted against running in 2010 and it's been held by Republicans every since and has gotten more Republicans over the years.

Former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon JOHNSON spent $2 million in his 2016 bid and lost 55 to 40 percent to now-U.S. Rep. Jack BERGMAN when it was an open seat. Cannon lost his bid in 2014 52 to 45 percent.

Nonetheless, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gave concerned constituents a few talking points in the run-up to Bergman's first town hall meeting in the Upper Peninsula. They quote a Traverse City Record Eagle editorial that noted Bergman should be spending more time in their city and note that Bergman "has been a vocal proponent of the Republican agenda to repeal the Affordable Care Act."

Interestingly, if Morgan ends up being the Democrats' nominee, he would be the Democrats' third straight nominee with roots in Kalkaska.
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Thursday, 4-20-17;

Former State Rep./Nat. Committeeman - Dave Agema joined us to talk about the budget process going on in Lansing;

Senate Cuts $277.1M, House $272.4M From Gov's FY '18 Recs

The final numbers are in and Republican-led Senate and House budget subcommittees cut $277.1 million and $272.4 million, respectfully, in General Fund money out of Gov. Rick SNYDER Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget.

The final two panels wrapped up their work this afternoon, revealing spending plans to keep open the possibilities of modest tax relief, debt reduction or a revisiting of the cuts each chamber made.

See a budget-by-budget breakdown here.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Dave HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell) described the Senate's offering as a "conservative budget" that it wouldn't have to be cut down the road. It's possible the Senate's sends its recommended $9.87 million in General Fund spending to the Governor, he said, but it's also possible some of the Senate's spending reductions are brought back.

His personal preference is a blend of paying down long-term debt with tax relief, but "what that looks like, I don't know, yet."

After watching her Democratic House colleagues lose on all but two of the more than 20 amendments to the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS) budget, Rep. Pam FARIS (D-Clio) said she's sure Republican leadership are angling for another tax cut, but she's not comfortable with the spending reductions made to date.

"The Governor put forward a decent budget, a thoughtful budget when it came to DHHS and education, and we're ripping it apart," Faris said.

At a time when the last Kids Count report found a higher percentage of kids living in poverty, the state should be doing more, not less, to give families a reasonable safety net, Faris said. (See "Kids Count: Monthly Childcare Took Up 38% Of Minimum Wage," 4/18/17).

The Senate Appropriations Committee put it stamp on eight of the 16 budgets moved through subcommittee, kicking the spending plans -- without any noteworthy changes -- to the Senate floor for action. The remaining eight budgets are slated to be taken up in Senate Appropriations Tuesday and Wednesday.

The House Appropriations Committee has not yet posted when it is meeting to address their budgets.

Overall, the Governor recommended a $56.27 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The 16 House appropriations subcommittees reported out budgets that were $482.6 million lower than the Governor's recommended. The Senate's final spending was $219.7 million lower.

The numbers reflect that the Senate used a few more fund shifts to get to its $277 million in cuts from the Governor's recommendations.

In general, both the Republican-lead House and Senate are making budget recommendations in every department for FY '18 that are lower than what the Governor wanted, with a few exceptions.

The Senate did recommend General Fund increases above Gov. Rick SNYDER's ask for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development ($4.8 million) and the state's 28 community colleges ($3.15 million). The House would spend, in total, $7.31 million more for K-12 schools.

So how much of an income tax would the Legislature see from $270 million in freed-up revenue?

According to the House Fiscal Agency, cutting the state's 4.25 percent income tax to 4.15 percent starting Jan. 1, 2018, as called for under the last amended version of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4001, would cost $195 million for FY 2018.

The House's plan from two months ago would have cut the rate to 4.05 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019, costing the state $463 million in revenue for FY 2019, according to the HFA.
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TODAY AT NOON - 2 pm,...Traverse City Post Office on Union Street

Come and Protest the "Dirty Dozen" who voted against reducing our State Income Tax,...back to it's Constitutional amended rate of 3.9% since 2007!!!
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 4-12-17; Next Tuesday, April 18th there will be State Income Tax protest rallies all over the State of Michigan (Traverse City Post Office from Noon - 2 pm) mostly due to the "Dirty Dozen" voting NO to reduce it; Conservative Group Targets 'Dirty Dozen' A conservative organization lead by Oakland County firebrand Matt MADDOCK announced today they would be holding rallies on April 18 or "Tax Day" at as many as 12 local post office locations to protest the Republican House members who voted against February's income tax rollback proposal (See "House Income Tax Cut Dies In Dramatic Fashion," 2/22/17). Rallies already slated in Birmingham, Mt. Clemens, Novi, Holland and Hudsonville are designed to draw further attention to what Maddock referred to as the "Dirty Dozen," and come as his Michigan Conservative Coalition (MC) turn up the political heat on the 12. More rallies are in the process of being scheduled, he said. Maddock's crew has handed out a negative flier featuring the 12 at various events, including one at the state Capitol two weeks ago. He said the MCC would be mailing the flier in the legislators' districts. Phone banks have been established and conversations with potential future Republican primary opponents have been had, he said. "These are Republicans who don't adhere to our party's platform, the basic tenants of what we stand for," he said. "They are doing more harm to the party in the long run because they are forcing voters to stay away at the ballot box." Maddock said Republican officeholders who blur the lines between Republicans and Democrats discourage conservative voters, who don't vote when they see little difference between candidates from either party. "We're hoping there are more of these roll call votes," he said. "It's what needs to be done to reveal to their electorate where their heart really is. If we can find more grounded conservative Republicans to run against, all the better." Said MCC President Rosanne PONKOWSKI, Republicans stand for smaller government and less spending. Not supporting a gradual income tax reduction to "hard-working Michigan taxpayers" deserves attention. "If nothing else, we can vote for change in 2018 when all of these elected officials will likely be running for re-election or, worse, for some higher office," Ponkowski said. "They need to know we are watching and will take action." Rep. Kathy CRAWFORD (R-Novi), one of the 12 "no" votes on Feb. 23, said Maddock's group can do what they want, but she's hearing overwhelming support in her district for her decision. Her voters want to know what state government services would be cut to support an income tax rollback. She said she was never able to get answers to that question. Besides that, the people in her district want the roads fixed. "I hear it over and over and over again," Crawford said. "Quite honestly, if you hit a pothole, the $157 you saved over a two-year period on an income tax rollback is paying for the tire you damaged. "The people in my district are telling me, 'Keep the money, and fix the roads,'" she said. If Maddock wants to come after her politically, Crawford didn't sound concerned. "I'm representing my district," she said. "I don't know if he's representing everyone in his district. I'd be surprised if he does."

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2nd Sunday Show - NBC's "Meet the Press",...their opening line; "President Trump - Then and Now" ...

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1st Sunday Show - ABC's "This Week",...all about North Korea!!
Martha Raditz from Seoul, South Korea moderated.
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Thank you Jesus,...for dying on the Cross for our salvation,...it IS a GOOD Friday,...!!!

Pastor Rusty Chatfield hosted numerous Pastors from around Northern Michigan for our 1st two (2) hours today;
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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 4-13-17;

Political insider shares private conversation with Lt. Gov. - Brian Calley,..."I'm in" for the Governor's race in 2018;

Calley Tells GOP Insider He's 'In' For Governor

If you buy into the notion that Gov. Rick SNYDER's sins will be hung around Brian CALLEY's neck should he run for governor, then news of Snyder's 54 percent disapproval rating is not good news for a potential Calley candidacy (See "Bits And Tidbits," 4/11/17).

But will there be one? It continues to be the unanswered question as Calley has upped his profile in recent months (See "LG Gets Name ID Boost: Name Added To Legislative Tributes," 1/27/17).

The Lieutenant Governor has engaged in a back-and-forth, cat-and-mouse game with the media on whether he is in or out. First, his non-answer was, "We have an election to run in November."

That came and went. He then deflected the inquiry by saying there was still lots to do in the new year and some time after the first of the year, he would weigh in.

But as has been reported before and reconfirmed here with a brand new source, Calley's outside game has been significantly different than his inside game with lobbyists, power brokers, party leaders and others behind the scenes. He is leaving little doubt with those folks that he would run.

In a most recent encounter with a GOP big wig, whose name you would recognize, Calley was more definitive.

"I'm in," Calley is reported as confirming during an extended chit chat about the contest with this unnamed source.

This source was reluctant to share any more details.

The critical question that supposedly comes up in these sessions is, "How do you intend to defeat You-Know-Who, aka Bill SCHUETTE?" whose gubernatorial intentions are more obvious, putting him in a front-runner status on the Republican side.

But sources tell MIRS Calley wouldn't get into a race if he didn't think he had a path to victory and it's not as if he's starting from square one. He has an email list of 500,000 supporters that he has nurtured over the years through his deep personal involvement in the movement to create a better life for the disabled, autistic children, others with special needs and their families.

This list could be used, in part, to propel him past Schuette who has "been on duty" pouring more coffee for party members around the state than anyone else. That also includes a recent event at the Lansing Center, where the supposedly uninvited Attorney General poured coffee for about 400 members of the Michigan Association of Counties. The Governor's office shared this little tidbit at the event.

Political insiders are likely to ask, however, can you launch and secure the party nomination using this base as your base?

Needless to say it's never been done before, but the Calley camp will likely argue, there's a first time for everything.

The only Republican candidate to file a campaign committee and actively campaign is Dr. Jim HINES, a Saginaw-area doctor. Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) is also considering a run.
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 4-12-17;

Next Tuesday, April 18th there will be State Income Tax protest rallies all over the State of Michigan (Traverse City Post Office from Noon - 2 pm) mostly due to the "Dirty Dozen" voting NO to reduce it;

Conservative Group Targets 'Dirty Dozen'

A conservative organization lead by Oakland County firebrand Matt MADDOCK announced today they would be holding rallies on April 18 or "Tax Day" at as many as 12 local post office locations to protest the Republican House members who voted against February's income tax rollback proposal (See "House Income Tax Cut Dies In Dramatic Fashion," 2/22/17).

Rallies already slated in Birmingham, Mt. Clemens, Novi, Holland and Hudsonville are designed to draw further attention to what Maddock referred to as the "Dirty Dozen," and come as his Michigan Conservative Coalition (MC) turn up the political heat on the 12.

More rallies are in the process of being scheduled, he said.

Maddock's crew has handed out a negative flier featuring the 12 at various events, including one at the state Capitol two weeks ago. He said the MCC would be mailing the flier in the legislators' districts. Phone banks have been established and conversations with potential future Republican primary opponents have been had, he said.

"These are Republicans who don't adhere to our party's platform, the basic tenants of what we stand for," he said. "They are doing more harm to the party in the long run because they are forcing voters to stay away at the ballot box."

Maddock said Republican officeholders who blur the lines between Republicans and Democrats discourage conservative voters, who don't vote when they see little difference between candidates from either party.

"We're hoping there are more of these roll call votes," he said. "It's what needs to be done to reveal to their electorate where their heart really is. If we can find more grounded conservative Republicans to run against, all the better."

Said MCC President Rosanne PONKOWSKI, Republicans stand for smaller government and less spending. Not supporting a gradual income tax reduction to "hard-working Michigan taxpayers" deserves attention.

"If nothing else, we can vote for change in 2018 when all of these elected officials will likely be running for re-election or, worse, for some higher office," Ponkowski said. "They need to know we are watching and will take action."

Rep. Kathy CRAWFORD (R-Novi), one of the 12 "no" votes on Feb. 23, said Maddock's group can do what they want, but she's hearing overwhelming support in her district for her decision.

Her voters want to know what state government services would be cut to support an income tax rollback. She said she was never able to get answers to that question. Besides that, the people in her district want the roads fixed.

"I hear it over and over and over again," Crawford said. "Quite honestly, if you hit a pothole, the $157 you saved over a two-year period on an income tax rollback is paying for the tire you damaged.

"The people in my district are telling me, 'Keep the money, and fix the roads,'" she said.

If Maddock wants to come after her politically, Crawford didn't sound concerned.

"I'm representing my district," she said. "I don't know if he's representing everyone in his district. I'd be surprised if he does."
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Our 3rd discussion today, Tuesday 4-11-17;

Sen. Brandenberg: Later Than Sooner On Income Tax Rollback

After the failed attempt to pass a House GOP income tax rollback, everyone assumed there would not be a tax cut before spring break, but there was some chit chat about tackling the issue after the two-week break.

Theoretically, that could happen in the lower chamber, but a key player in the upper chamber predicted any income tax elimination move probably would not happen until the fall.

On the eve of that spring recess, MIRS asked Sen. Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.) for an update on his tax cut plan. It's still in the formative stages. The biggest hurdle remains addressing the $9 billion hole scrapping the income tax would leave on the state budget.

"We're talking cuts. We're talking everything. It's on the table," Brandenburg said.

"Putting the list together, $4 billion, I can get to $4 billion in about a day," he explained, but the harsh reality is, he will need more than his own vote to ratify that list. "It's going to take more than me for a buy-in. We can get to $9 billion."

But what would state government look like if he did?

"I'll tell you what it would look like, it would be a state government without an income tax," he asserted without addressing what state services may be on the chopping block to get there.

MIRS pushed for a peak at his "tentative list," which will not include any cuts to education and or law enforcement, but "everything else in the General Fund is on the table" including corrections, which is a big-ticket item especially if you take education and public safety off the table.

"I'm not prepared to talk about specifics right now, but I'll tell you the $9 billion can be had." Is he going to use the five months to line up votes or finish the list? He said the latter.

"The list has to make sense and it has to be concrete. I'm taking my time," he said.

Meanwhile, Budget Director Al PSCHOLKA didn't pan the idea of eliminating the income tax, but repeated the administration's line on Off The Record that they want to see a detailed plan before forming an opinion.

Pscholka noted that of the $56 billion Michigan budget, 42 percent is federal Medicaid dollars and 40 percent is restricted funds like School Aid and Transportation funding. Of the $10 billion General Fund, $3 billion is used for federal matching dollars, $2 billion for prisons, $2 billion for higher education and $1 billion to pay down debt.

His argument: There's not a lot of discretionary money to play with.

"It is kind of a show me situation," Pscholka said. "He's not adverse to reducing taxes."
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Monday 4-10-17;

Notice how some of the most anti-Trump folks are coming out supporting his military strike last Thursday in Syria;

In response to the recent U.S. action in Syria, Ohio Governor -John Kasich issued the following statement:

"The Assad regime committed war crimes that can not be tolerated. The U.S. response was appropriate and necessary."

"Assad must go. And whether he is forced out sooner or later, he must be tried for war crimes. We should begin that process now."
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Thursday 4-6-17;

Tucker Carlson's interview with Lansing, MI Mayor - Virg Benero after they passed a "Sanctuary City" resolution;

video.foxnews.com/v/5386973082001/?#sp=show-clips
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Tucker takes on outgoing Lansing, MI Mayor Virgil Bernero over his turning the city into a sanctuary city #Tucker

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Wednesday 4-5-17;

U.S. Rep. John MOOLENAAR (R-Midland), a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, told MIRS today he does not believe President Donald TRUMP's initial budget proposal will be the final word on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

Launched in 2010, the stated purpose of the GLRI is to protect and restore the Great Lakes. But last month, the $300 million in total annual funding for the GLRI was eliminated from Trump's first formal budget recommendation as part of his $2.6 billion in cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (See "MI Gets Third Of $300M Great Lakes Funding Slated For 97% Cut," 3/9/17).

"I believe the President submitted his so-called 'skinny' budget recommendations as kind of an outline that showed significant cuts while boosting defense spending,” Moolenaar said. "But at the end of the day I don't think those are going to be the same priorities that Congress is going to have. Ultimately, the appropriations process is what will make the determination.

Trump's proposed elimination of the GLRI has drawn fire from both Democrats and Republicans nationwide, and particularly from lawmakers and officials in the eight states that border the Great Lakes, five of which (all but Illinois, Minnesota, and New York) were won by Trump in the election. Among Michigan lawmakers and officials, support for the GLRI appears to be almost universal. U.S. Rep. Dan KILDEE (D-Flint Twp.) has announced that he will host a press call to discuss the topic on Wednesday.

"There is strong bipartisan support for the GLRI," Moolenaar said. "More than 300 House members and 60 members of the Senate supported giving it annual appropriations funding. I've supported it all along, including when President Barack OBAMA wanted to cut it."

In 2016, Obama proposed cutting GLRI funding from $300 million to $250 million.

“The Great Lakes are one-fifth of the world's surface fresh water,” Moolenaar said. “In addition to environmental concerns, the Great Lakes also support billions of dollars in economic activity.”

According to Moolenaar, preserving the GLRI is only one of several current issues that involve protecting the Great Lakes.

“Another key issue is the Brandon Road Lock and Dam and keeping Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes,” Moolenaar said. “We also need to protect the Great Lakes from the dangers of the nuclear waste the Canadian government has proposed storing on the shore of Lake Huron. Also, we have to get a new lock built at the Soo.”

MIRS asked Moolenaar if the Trump administration might consider construction of the lock to be a component of his initiative to upgrade the nation's infrastructure.

“I hope so,” Moolenaar said.
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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Monday 4-3-17;
Bill Hartmann called in to talk about the new Facebook group - "Reform No-Fault NOW!!!", asking folks in Michigan to post their story about car insurance in our State;

www.facebook.com/groups/1044100365734185/
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Thursday 3-30-17 from MIRS News Service;

Senate Turns Fraser Money Into Loan;
Candice Miller Says Arlan Meekhof 'Not A Leader'

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice MILLER, already feeling slighted that Lansing wasn't helping her community with a massive sinkhole in Fraser estimated at costing $100 to $150 million to repair, unleashed on Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) for his chamber turning a House-passed $3 million grant into a $5 million loan.

In a press release title, "State Sen. Meekhof 'playing games' while House shows compassion," Miller, a fellow Republican, said:

"He has the wrong title. He's not a leader. Term limits can't come fast enough for some people. It is incredibly pompous and arrogant for one man to stand in the way of a project designed to keep raw sewage out of 150,000 Macomb County basements and raw sewage from being discharged into our magnificent Great Lakes."

Contacted today by MIRS and asked to respond to Candice Miller's comment, Meekhof quipped, "Candice who?"

The fur began to fly today when the Senate changed the $3 million grant the House put in a mid-year supplemental to a loan, as Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Dave HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell) signaled Tuesday would happen (See "House, Senate Differ on Fraser Sinkhole Funding," 3/28/17).

The money is needed to help Macomb County build an emergency sewer line before the spring rains overwhelming a collapse wastewater main. The project is estimated at $10.8 million, but the state has $3 million sitting in a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) fund.

However, that money is supposed to go toward infrastructure planning. It's not designed to be an emergency response fund. Miller is making the argument that the pipe serves more than half a million people and more than 40,000 businesses . . . not something Meekhof should be "playing games" with.

Gov. Rick SNYDER declared the sinkhole-caused damage an emergency and on a 101-7 vote the House passed Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4329, the supplemental budget bill that included the $3 million grant.

Overall, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4329, which is sponsored by Rep. Jeff YAROCH (R-Richmond), would send $100 million from the federal Water Infrastructure Improvements (WIN) Act to Flint for water infrastructure improvements, $1 million in General Fund dollars for reimbursement to the House and Senate for a transfer that was used for Capitol Building improvements and the money to help address the need to replace the sinkhole-damaged sewer line near Fraser.

MIRS asked Yaroch if he thought the House would change the bill back so that the money for the sinkhole damage would be in the form a grant, or just accept the Senate's change and move forward.

"I'm new to Lansing, so I'm not prepared to say," Yaroch said. "What I do know is that the money should be a grant. Next year, the DEQ will be giving out $62 million in SAW (Stormwater, Asset Management, Wastewater) grants to communities. Here we have a situation in Macomb County that affects 500,000 people in 11 communities. We're asking for help to try to keep sewage from washing into the Clinton River and out to Lake St. Clair."

"I think this was a very reasonable ask," Yaroch continued. "We are asking for money that past legislatures had put away for infrastructure. If people want to discuss whether these should be grants or loans, maybe that should be a policy discussion we have about the 62 SAW grants."

Earlier in the day, Meekhof defended the Senate changing the money for the Fraser sewer line from a grant to a loan. He said if the state "opened its checkbook" when these kinds of problems arise, local municipalities would have less incentive to spend the money it takes to keep their infrastructure in good repair.

"They own it. It's their problem," Meekhof told reporters, referring to Macomb County. "We're not interested in just opening up the checkbook of the state . . . if we did that, they (local communities) would just wait for a crisis. Why would they do something proactive?"

The Senate version of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4329 passed 36-1, with Sen. Steve BIEDA (D-Warren) casting the lone "no" vote. However, prior to the vote taken on passage of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4329, Bieda offered an amendment that would have changed the loan for the sinkhole sewer line fix back to a $3 million grant.

"We're talking about preventing millions of gallons of raw sewage from flowing into the Clinton River and tributaries to Lake St. Clair," Bieda said. "This impacts 11 communities, plus Selfridge Air Force Base."

Bieda's fellow Macomb County senator, Sen. Tory ROCCA (R-Sterling Heights) also argued for the amendment.

"Consider how much money Macomb County, which is a donor county, gives to the state," Rocca said. "That's money from my county's taxpayers. It's very distressing that people are ready to line up to get [their] money from the budget. But if it's going to be everybody on their own, my county would be better off."

Seven Republicans joined with the Democrats in support of the amendment, which failed on a 17-18 vote. In addition to Rocca, they were Sens: Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.), Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba), Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton), Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage), David ROBERTSON (R-Grand Blanc), and Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton).

Hildenbrand told reporters he agreed with Meekhof, that the state shouldn't get into the practice of paying for situations that arise locally.

"I think we have to be careful about not setting a precedent," Hildenbrand said after the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted the substitute for Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4329, which made the switch from the grant to the loan.
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Email and Call; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,...today!!! ...

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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Friday 3-10-17;

Michigan State Senator - Patrick Colbeck joined us about his testimony he gave in front of the House Energy Committee regarding the dangers of "Smart Meters" on our homes and businesses;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMnLZiMMfGI
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Our 1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 3-7-17;

The perceived racist sign at the Pro-Trump rally in Petoskey this past Saturday,....DID exist!!! Brian reviewed the videos and Trucker Randy talked with the individual who made and brought it to the event!!!
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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Friday 3-3-17;

Brian Sommerfield advised President Trump to send his private Jet to pickup Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and bring them back to America to work at a secure private location to help the President; "Drain the Swamp" in Washington and across America!!! #DrainTheSwamp
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