Jan 29, 2008

GOP response to SOS promises cooperation

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester sounded a note of harmony and future cooperation in his response to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State address Tuesday night.

The leader of the Senate Republicans chose to make the response himself this year instead of a member of the caucus as in years past, and it was a short and sweet speech. I a year filled with partisan bickering and fighting that led to a historic but brief shutdown of state government that led the public to give the state Legislature one of the lowest approval ratings in state history, Bishop acknowledged that fact and promised to foster bipartisanship.

“We recognize our citizens are frustrated with their elected officials after last year's budget battle and what will go down as one of the most tumultuous years in the history of the Michigan Legislature,” he said. “Tonight, the governor outlined her blueprint on ways we can work together on such things as energy policy, health care reform, education, the environment, road infrastructure and all those things that have historically defined our state's priorities and contribute to our everyday quality of life.”

Bishop still managed to get in a dig at Democrats and the governor over the tax increases enacted in October that are still being felt politically in the form of ongoing recalls of Democratic lawmakers who voted for the increases.

“We must send a clear message that we - Republicans and Democrats- will do everything we can to pursue common sense public policy with the sole objective of making Michigan competitive in the 21st century,” Bishop said. “That objective has become much more attainable with the governor's recent pledge not to raise taxes in the coming budget cycle.”

The governor announced two new initiatives to grow new jobs in Michigan: the Michigan Job Creation Tax Credit -will cut or altogether eliminate taxes for a company that creates jobs and the Michigan Invests Fund that will give high-growth companies the investment capital they need if they invest it in Michigan.

Bishop’s equal time response was short on policy details, but indications are it may be Republican-controlled Senate. Many bills sent over from the Democratic-controlled House have stalled in the Senate.

“This is also a good opportunity for the governor to show restraint and good judgment and not call for new programs that the state and its residents cannot afford,” Bishop said. “Michigan residents expect their leaders to speak directly to the heart of our economic problems and offer specific, concrete solutions.”

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