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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    RightMichigan.com Exclusive: An interview with Rep. Kim Meltzer (R-Clinton Township)

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 08:07:19 AM EST
    Tags: (all tags)

    This is the fourth in a weekly series of exclusive interviews with conservative legislators in Lansing.

    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 budget mess.  

    We never hear about that in the MSM.

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

    This week's guest, from Clinton Township, freshman State Rep. Kim Meltzer.

    Interview after the break...

    Representative Kim Meltzer, thanks for taking the time to speak with everyone here at Right Michigan!

    Thanks for having me!

    I know you're very busy so if it's OK I'll just jump right into it.  Last week the House moved budget bills that wound up spending $2 billion more than projected revenues.  What's your take on the budgets that were moved?

    Totally irresponsible.  House Democrats managed to appropriate even more dollars than
    the Governor's original pie-in-the-sky budget recommendations.  I mean, you really have to work hard to spend money that fast.  And, let's not forget, both Gov. Granholm's and the House Dems' budget proposals were based on the assumption of additional revenues.  If a tax hike is not enacted, the proposed budgets will be completely out of balance.  I understand the politics behind this, but come on - let's be serious here.  If you don't have the money, you can't spend it.

    And you had a couple of amendments to one of the budgets that the Democrat Majority stonewalled, right?

    Yes.  One of the amendments I offered to the Higher Education budget would have required universities to make sample tuition bills, including all hidden fees and charges, available to prospective students.  That amendment actually passed 100-9 but was ultimately stripped out by the Democrats in a parliamentary maneuver.  Another amendment that met a similar fate would have required community colleges and universities to verify that classes a student chose to take would indeed transfer.  I've often heard from students how disappointed they are when they thought their credit requirements had been met, only to discover that they have to spend even more time and money than originally anticipated.

    So much for not railroading the minority.  

    There's also been a lot of discussion, obviously, about forcing the state to live within its means and making sure that we don't balance the budget on the backs of working moms and dads.  Are there any specific areas that you're looking to, personally, where the state could do things more efficiently?  Areas where we could save taxpayers a few dollars?

    Obviously, the state needs to enact meaningful cuts and government reforms before anyone even thinks to utter the phrase "tax increase".  I never cease to be amazed at all of the new spending that the Governor is able to dream up, all the while assuring us that Michigan has "cut to the bone".  By all accounts, there is plenty of fat left to be trimmed.

    For instance, House Democrats recently passed budgets that will spend tens of millions of dollars that the state does not have to create a new socialized "universal" preschool program.  This is on top of the iPods fiasco and their proposal earlier this month to increase state funding for the arts budget by seventy-four percent.  Seventy-four percent! One of my House colleagues referred to that appropriation as "dreamland".  I couldn't agree more.

    In yet another example, the Macomb Daily recently pointed out that Michigan is the first state in the nation to have its' own Surgeon General, which is a duplicative position because, obviously, there is already a Surgeon General at the federal level.  I would not object so much to this largely ceremonial post if there were at least some return on the investment, but our state was just ranked the ninth fattest in the nation.  Should we really be spending tax dollars to hire someone to tell us to put down the Fritos and hit the gym?  Isn't that just common sense?  The budget keeps getting fatter but we're sure not getting any thinner.

    Now you really got dropped right into the middle of a mess this year.  You're dealing with issues most freshmen... well... most legislators period have never had to deal with.  What have the first eight months been like?  Is it what you expected?  Wildly different?  

    I guess I had a much more idealistic view of how state government was supposed to work before coming here.  I quickly learned that doing the "right thing" could sometimes mean doing the "wrong thing" in terms of one's career advancement in Lansing.  I find that sad and unfortunate, but I don't think that's jaded me too much.  I came here with a promise to promote job creation, as well as government accountability and transparency, and I don't think that I've strayed from that path at all.  There have been plenty of unexpected challenges but I think that kind of excitement is what keeps me motivated every day.

    October first is the deadline for completion of this whole budget process and then maybe, just maybe, it'll be on to other things.  I know it's tough at times to move any legislation when you're dealing with a hostile majority but are there any specific issues you're hoping to address through the remainder of the cycle?  Things that are particularly important to you or to Clinton Township?

    I'm very interested in promoting an agenda of transparency and accountability at all levels of government, and I feel that there are some great opportunities to advocate for that type of legislation in the current session.  

    For instance, I recently introduced the School Sunshine package, House Bills 5083 and 5084, along with Fran Amos in an effort to require online public disclosure of most school expenditures.  

    I've had so much positive feedback with that legislation and I feel that it's really just a common-sense idea with potential bipartisan appeal to my friends on the other side of the aisle.  

    I also introduced two bills this week, HB 5141 and 5142, which would prevent candidates who are delinquent in paying their campaign filing fees and fines from being able to run for office or form PACs.  This is a big problem in Macomb County and, frankly, I don't quite understand why this was ever legal to begin with.  If a candidate can't even follow the law, then why on earth should he or she be afforded the privilege of making the law?

    And of course the House just voted on moving up the Presidential Primary.  What are your thoughts on the possibility of a joint primary that actually makes Michigan relevant in the selection process?  And have you picked a horse or made any endorsements?

    The House just voted today to move the primary date up to January 15.  It was one of those "kumbaya" moments when Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to really do something good for the state, and I'm proud to have supported it.  It seems clear to me that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire is particularly representative of the country as a whole, so it's a great idea to have a state like Michigan move up in the pack.  Also, an earlier primary is sure to bring needed attention to our state's problems and, hopefully, some help from the federal government down the road.  

    As for your second question, I am currently supporting Mitt Romney.

    Representative Meltzer, I know it's been a busy day.  Thanks for taking the time!

    Keep up the good work!

    < Term limits on the ballot 1/15 too? --AND-- What happened to Dem "reform" mantra? | Labor Day 2007- Union Corruption, Greed, and Liberal Politics >

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    Keep up the great work! (none / 0) (#1)
    by John Galt on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 08:52:25 AM EST
    Kim Meltzer is a great State Rep.

    Keep up the Great Work, Kim!

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