Monday, October 16, 2006

Granholm For Governor: Truth Squad: Final Debate

Once again, here are the facts. Cleaning up after Dick is such a pain.

DeVos' Debate Distortions: Correcting the Record

Governor Granholm did not cause Michigan's economic problems.

Dick DeVos' support for unfair trade and outsourcing caused them. Dick DeVos' support for President Bush and unfair trade policies cause the pain our automakers, workers, and economy are feeling now, not Governor Granholm. Michigan lost 264,000 jobs during the last 2.5 years under Engler, and have actually gained 24,000 jobs under Governor Granholm. Michigan's economic problems are a result of slow national economic growth under Bush; and more importantly, the slump in the U.S. auto industry and the fact that Michigan is far more dependent upon the auto industry than any other state, according to a recent report by the respected Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Governor Granholm is moving forward with the Michigan First Health Care plan.

The Governor's team is currently in negotiations with the federal government to reach consensus about the plan's financing and design to ensure that when the final waiver request is submitted, it will be acceptable to both the state and federal governments. These negotiations take time, but they are moving forward. In Massachusetts, it took nearly two years to negotiate the waiver they used to implement their new health care program. The Governor expects the program to start in April 2007. Dick DeVos, on the other hand, says the only way to get health care is to get a job. DeVos is leaving out thousands of people who are currently employed with out health care.

DeVos said he's confused over Michigan's tax situation.

But the truth is Dick DeVos has proposed $3 billion in corporate tax cuts. He pushed for the elimination of the Single Business Tax without a replacement and now wants to cut the Business Equipment Tax. To make those cuts DeVos would have to either raise taxes on families or cut health care, education, or police and fire forces.

DeVos said the Governor never had to make a personal investment decision.

The truth is Governor Granholm has made real decisions while leading the state of Michigan. To help businesses, for example, Governor Granholm has made state permitting much easier for businesses - cutting air permitting times by 67 percent, for example. State government is leaner than ever – there are fewer employees than at any time since 1974, and when adjusted for inflation, the state general fund spending is smaller than any time since 1970. Michigan was named the third best managed state in the country by Governing Magazine. Michigan improved its ranking to fifth place on the Small Business Survival Index 2005 compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. In Site Selection magazine's annual ranking of "business climate" Michigan jumped seven places in 2005, from 15th to 8th. One of DeVos' own companies sent the Granholm administration a letter with praise for its quick permitting process.

Dick DeVos wants you to believe the Governor isn't doing enough to educate our kids, but Governor Granholm is a champion of public education.

Governor Granholm has given more state funding to K-12 education than any Governor in history. She is revolutionizing early childhood education programs to get kids ready for school. She instituted tough new curriculum standards for our kids to give them the tools they need to get 21st Century jobs, and she's fighting to give every child in Michigan access to a $4,000 scholarship for college, a plan that DeVos' Republican friends in the Legislature are blocking. DeVos, on the other hand, financed a ballot initiative to create risky school voucher scheme that would have drained money from public schools and vowed to revisit the issue later.

Dick DeVos says he wants to improve our public schools, but he supports reducing funding for public schools.

But Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy believe in taking public tax dollars for private education - which drains money from public schools. Dick and Betsy founded All Children Matter, a national organization pushing for vouchers throughout the country. It has been widely reported that the pro-voucher group is lobbying for vouchers in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin and Utah. There's a reason why the Grand Rapids Press called the couple "the face of the voucher movement." The Detroit News reported Betsy DeVos contributed $200,000 to All Child matter just this past April. Dick and Betsy also led the unsuccessful 2000 campaign for school vouchers, spending some $10 million. And don't forget, on December 2, 2002, Dick DeVos made his position clear while speaking to the Heritage Foundation: "But when the time comes, we will bring the fight back to Michigan again and do everything we can there."

DeVos said only one automotive plant has come to Michigan in the past several years. That's not true.

There have been multiple manufacturing plants buit under Governor Jennifer Granholm, including plants in Dundee and the new General Motors plant. In addition, Governor Granholm was supported by the Michigan Manufactures Association for giving a $600 million tax cut to our Michigan manufacturers.

Dick DeVos' attacks about police officers on the streets are misleading; Governor Granholm spent her career protecting Michigan families.

The figure DeVos cites dates to 9/11/01, more than a year before the Governor took office. Despite having cut more from state government than any governor before her in order to resolve $4 billion in budget deficits, Governor Granholm fought hard to protect funding that keeps Michigan families safe. Unfortunately, federal funding cuts for President Clinton's C.O.P.S. Program - which put 100,000 police officers on the streets nationwide – has meant that local governments have had far fewer resources to hire new police officers to replace those lost to retirement. Michigan receives only 60 percent of what the state received in 2003. Despite belt-tightening across state government, in this year's state budget Governor Granholm worked to fund a recruitment and training program to increase the number of Michigan State Police Troopers.

Dick DeVos is not turnaround leader. He's part of the problem for Michigan.

His support for President Bush and unfair free trade agreements is what got Michigan into this mess in the first place. DeVos is not a Michigan jobs maker, and his own father said that his claims of turning around Grand Rapids were taking a little "political license."