Nate Smith-Tyge (@smithtyge):
It's just past noon and already the nonsense coming out of the State Capitol is piling up.
Where to start? Well, let's start with the topic you might be able to take some direct action on. The House and Senate passed a freedom to discriminate in adoption law yesterday (see Nick's post below on the un-constitutional manner in which they passed these three terrible bills - not to mention their continued use of un-constitutional substitute bills - see Nick's post on that topic here) and these bills are now on the Governor's desk for signature. I encourage you to call and email the Governor urging him to veto these unnecessary, discriminatory, and un-constitutional bills. Michigan does not need to go any further down the Indiana route of intolerance and stupidity. Reach the Governor here phone and email - be polite and to the point, the more he hears from the rationale people of the state the better a chance he vetoes. Update: The Governor has signed these bills – what a moderate and truly different Republican. To anyone that voted for this charlatan and believed that nonsense, I’d like to sell you a bridge to Canada. Welcome to Michissippi.
What's next? Well my state senator and everyone's favorite whack-a-doodle tea party crank Pat Colbeck just got a bill passed through the State Senate that picks and chooses which part of the US Constitution should be taught in public schools. Leaving aside for the moment that Pat Colbeck's grip on reality is at best challenged and his grasp of history is even more suspect, do we really want school curriculum left to the whims of legislators? I have this crazy idea that educators, and specifically teachers, should be the people creating and managing educational curriculum. Call me weird but I tend to trust professionals to handle the responsibilities of their profession. I doubt Pat Colbeck would like me dictating engineering standards to him, so I'd appreciate it if he left curriculum and teaching to the learning professionals. And did I mention that all of this meddling is also un-constitutional? (see Nick's post here on the topic).
And the cherry on this sundae of stupid from Michigan Republicans is Nolan Finley's column today in the moribund Detroit News. Mr. Finley does an excellent job of regurgitating Lansing Republican talking points, he even trots out the wonderful Luntz-speak created "lost decade" from the 2014 campaign. We know that Michigan's recovery is simply based on the fact that people are once again buying cars and New Big 3 are profitable and hiring. Like it or not, our state's economy is still deeply tied to the state of the auto industry. Snyder and his policies had nothing to do with this. In fact, the corporate tax give-aways and resulting budget insecurity will have more long-term negative impact on the state's economic future than the nonsensical talking points spewed by Mr. Finley. You see businesses want a highly educated and skilled workforce (i.e., good public schools and affordable post-secondary options), safe and vibrant communities, and high quality infrastructure. None of which are possible given the Governor and Legislative Republican's tax and budget priorities. They also want to attract and retain young talent and putting up obstacles to treating all people fairly - banning marriage equality and not providing equal protections for all citizens regardless of orientation (see 1st paragraph) is a non-starter for young talented people that have a much different world-view than the folks in Howell and Holland that these types of laws appeal to.
A graduated income tax is very low on the list of considerations for businesses looking to grow or re-locate. Minnesota is a shining example of the reality that so escapes the small-minded view of Mr. Finley and his compatriots at the Michigan Chamber. Minnesota has a graduated income tax (which was raised on the higher brackets during the Great Recession) and effective regulatory system which have resulted in high quality public schools, strong communities and sound infrastructure. The result - the best economy in the nation (with sustainable real job growth) and a vibrant state bursting with potential for every resident. We would do well to follow their path and not stay on our current trajectory that only benefits the Governor and his big corporate pals (i.e., Mr. Finley's fan club).