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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    RightMichigan Exclusive: An Interview with Representative Jim Stamas (R-Midland)

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:40:10 AM EST
    Tags: Stamas, House, Interview, Exclusive, DEQ, Child Safety, Deficit, stimulus, Midland (all tags)

    We talk so often here about the things that are going wrong in Lansing and what the tax-and-spenders are up to that I think it's important to check in with the good guys from time to time to get their take on the issues facing taxpayers and the legislature today.

    The GOP House minority continues to sponsor and introduce legislation, to work behind the scenes and to try to figure out some sort of positive solution to this tax-hike / budget mess.

    We rarely hear about that in the MSM.

    Being a member of a legislative minority makes it tough to garner headlines. But they're working hard and they're trying to make a difference.

    This week I spoke with freshman Representative Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

    Interview after the break...

    Representative Stamas, thank you for taking the time to speak with everyone here at RightMichigan!

    Thank you, Nick.  I appreciate the opportunity.

    Tough week in Lansing.  A few days ago the Governor handed down an executive order cutting about 300 million dollars out of the budget to help fill a $1.32 billion budget hole.  

    What is your take on the EO?  Was it enough?  Were the cuts appropriate?

    It's a tough start but we have a long way to go. We need a balanced budget, and with a $1.3 billion deficit just this year, it leaves a lot of work left.  I'm also disheartened that the governor decided to use so much stimulus money to plug holes in the budget.  We were told this money would be used to create jobs and improve our economy, not stimulate government.  We must reduce spending and reform government so we can get Michigan families back to work.

    So what happens going forward?  The legislature will have to craft the 2010 budget in the not-too-distant future, we're running out of stimulus funding and tax revenues continue to plummet as jobs leave the state.  Are the Democrats going to push another multi-billion dollar tax hike?

    Actually, we could still have almost $1 billion in stimulus funding left, and I'm worried we'll again take the easy and less responsible way out and use it for our budget deficit.  It's hard to say, though, what the Democrats will do, but it's time we take the lead and put our own balanced budget forward.

    If the Governor and the Speaker and the Senate get together and tell you "we need new taxes and we need your vote," would you consider a "yes" vote?

    No.  I think we have enough taxes already and need to work within the funds we have.

    We mentioned jobs leaving the state.  Some jobs aren't even bothering to come in the first place, thanks to the Department of Environmental Quality.  Your district just lost a pretty big project because of the DEQ.  What really happened there?

    Don't get me started with the DEQ.  I think it's a clear case of too many regulations and hoops to jump through, and a clear signal by the DEQ that Michigan is just not interested in jobs.  That's a terrible signal to convey when the economy is already in such bad shape.  I've said before that Michigan is far more likely to lose jobs to Indiana rather than India, so we need a common-sense environment policy to encourage new job growth.

    How do we prevent that sort of job prevention from happening again?

    I just introduced a bill in the House that requires the DEQ to, at a minimum, start benchmarking projects so we can see just how out of the loop we are.  The DEQ must peer review at least two of its programs annually under my legislation.  The evaluations should improve programs and encourage new job growth in our state.  It will also keep Michigan businesses on a level playing field with competitors in other states.

    None of you folks at the Capitol have an enviable job.  There are no perfect solutions and politics is about compromise.  This is your first term but I'd imagine it's already been awfully eye opening.  What's surprised you the most about the experience thus far?

    The amount of information you receive and sometimes the short amount of time you have to make a decision.

    What is the toughest vote you've had to cast thus far?

    I consider each vote as important as the next one. Each impacts lives and rights.

    Fair enough.

    Quick plug for you here... I understand you've got a big event to promote child safety happening in the district this Sunday?

    You're right, I am working with Check 'n' Go and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to host a free Child Photo ID event.  It's a great way to protect children if an emergency were to happen.

    How can parents get more information or get connected with your efforts?

    The event takes place this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Midland Soccer Club Tournament at the Midland Soccer Complex.  If you're in the area and have young children, please stop by.  For more information, people can call me toll free at 1-800-626-8887.

    Representative, thanks again for the time.  Is there anything else you'd like to cover before I let you get back to work?

    Thank you, Nick.  I appreciate the opportunity, as well as the tremendous work you do to keep Michigan residents informed.  With people like you and elected officials who are willing to make the tough decisions necessary, we can right Michigan's ship and start improving our economy.
    The only other thing I would add is how important it is to build our network of friends for 2010.  Have a great day and a great weekend.

    < Friday in the Sphere: May 8 | 911 Caller arrested for swearing >

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