Jobs and the economy
I believe that a strong economy is built from the foundation up. We all benefit from a strong middle class, social mobility, and a minimum level of human dignity for every resident. Our growing income inequality is threatening these principles, and that's why I advanced tax reforms in the state house that would assign the costs of maintaining government more squarely on those who have and make the most. With a graduated income tax, a reinvigorated Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and an adequate system of human services, we can go a long way towards a more prosperous state with less income inequality.
Also, we need state government to be engaged in providing the proper infrastructure for good jobs. This starts with quality schools but must also include a serious investment in transportation, water, and other public infrastructure. The most important way that Michigan can grow good jobs and a healthy, diverse economy is to invest in education. Strong cities thrive because of great schools and by combining universal pre-K, great k-12 schools, and affordable avenues of higher education, Michigan can rebuild our reputation as a global center for great education and innovation.
Still, there are targeted ideas and special opportunities that Michigan should take advantage of to grow our economy. As your next state senator, I will push for:
- Transportation funding: Michigan has not solved our problem with crumby roads, inadequate transit, and missed opportunities for biking and walking improvements. Michigan roads will continue costing us in jobs and car repairs until we come up with additional revenue to meet the basic needs. Michigan can do better. We can have decent roads and support more livable communities all while putting people to work making tangible and long-term improvements to our communities.
- Support the American Center for Mobility and other opportunities to bring advanced manufacturing jobs to Michigan. Michigan is uniquely poised to build the cars of the future and I will support that by:
- working closely with local and state economic development officials to make sure that ACM is the national hub for advanced vehicles
- propose rolling back additional taxes that Michigan Republicans assessed to advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles
- Reintroduce legislation to re-establish the Clean Michigan Initiative. While in Lansing, I introduced legislation to put $1 billion to work rebuilding our water infrastructure and clean up polluted sites along the Great Lakes. This is the sort of investment that improves our state in tangible ways, protects pubic health against another Flint-like drinking water disaster, and puts thousand of people to work in good-paying jobs.
- Better connectivity to bridge the digital divide: more and more, the internet is an essential for people to participate in our economy. Michigan needs:
- better speeds for everybody, Michigan will be an attractive place to invest and grow good jobs if we are the best connected state in the USA,
- basic internet access and basic technology to access the network should be available to all residents. Michigan should leverage its public resources, including working with cities, counties, and townships, to provide network access to all and to provide technology to low-income residents.
- More aggressive use of energy efficiency financing such as Property Assessed Clean Energy authorization for homeowners or performance contracting in public buildings. As a county commissioner and then as a state representative, I supported numerous energy efficiency projects that pay for themselves, improve our public services, and put people to work. Almost every school, every prison, and every state office building could benefit from capital investments that pay for themselves in a handful of years. For homeowners, I introduced PACE legislation to allow qualifying energy efficiency and clean energy projects at the home to be financed with a special assessments.