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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    RightMichigan Exclusive: An Interview with Representative Jase Bolger (R-Marshall)

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 07:58:09 AM EST
    Tags: Exclusive, interview, Bolger, Calhoun, Marshall, Tea Party, budget, deficit, stimulus (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 Calhoun County freshman Republican Representative Jase Bolger.

    Interview after the break...

    Representative Bolger, thank you for taking the time to speak with everyone at RightMichigan today!

    Thanks for the chance, Nick, I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and your readers.

    Trust your "spring break" was appropriately enjoyable, but on that note, was this the right time for Andy Dillon to send everyone home for two weeks?

    That's a mixed bag.  The Speaker is in control of the legislative schedule, but I am in control of serving my constituents.  So, I guess it largely depends on what legislators did with their time.  I did get the chance to spend some time with my family.  However, I'm also very actively using this time to talk to the residents in my district about what's going on in Michigan and in their lives right now.

    As a part of this, I've produced an informal report card for Michigan, and the report is not very good.  Over the last 6 years spending is up and employment is down.  We need to get to work attracting jobs as well as balancing the budget.  Right now the budget situation is so bad that we spend $5 million more a day then we receive in tax revenues.  Everyday that passes without a fix gets us another $5 million in the hole.

    What do you make of the Majority's contention, while they sent everyone on break, that the budget is such a mess that they can't simultaneously focus on any other legislation?

    The budget is a huge issue, but I believe the biggest and overriding issue needs to be jobs for the families in our communities.  I firmly believe that each person in our state wants opportunity more than anything else.  They want the opportunity to provide for themselves and their family.  They do not want to have to rely on a government program.

    So, the question "How will this impact our ability to create, attract, and retain jobs in Michigan?" needs to be woven into everything we do.  That certainly means we need to consider the impact on jobs while we balance the budget, but there are also many other things the legislature can do to help attract jobs.  We need to remember, however, that government doesn't create jobs, people do.  So, we need to be sure that government doesn't hurt people's ability to create jobs.

    Great point.  The flip side, and well worth noting, is that when the Democrats aren't in Lansing they aren't doing any extra damage to Michigan's already crippled job market.  Just before the recess the House voted on a set of bills that would have opened up Michigan's life science sector to a flood of new litigation.  You voted against their package.  Why?

    This is one of those areas where I believe government hurts our ability to attract and create jobs.  It's also an issue that is unfortunately easily and often exploited for purely political gain.

    In Michigan if a drug manufacturer received FDA approval for a new drug, then they were protected from lawsuits unless they lied or deceived the FDA to get their approval.  Drugs interact with different people in different ways, and each one has risks.  You've seen the disclosures at your doctor's office, right?  Even aspirin hurts some people some times.

    But, in the past Democrats have sought to exploit the sad stories of those who possibly suffered one of the potentially bad side effects.   The sad part of these types of political games is that real people lose their jobs and suffer the consequences when issues are exploited like this.  In this case drug manufacturers may stop creating new drugs that could help save many other lives.  Big life science employers may also decide that certain states are not hospitable because they feel under attack there.  So, real people lose their jobs.  

    Democrats claim these types of actions don't affect life science companies, but the life science companies will tell you differently.  Who wants to be somewhere where it seems clear that you're not wanted?  We certainly don't need to be chasing jobs away right now.

    We can afford to kill a few more jobs if it tosses millions of dollars to the trial lawyers, though, can't we?

    Your sarcasm is well placed.  With this package and another package related to automobile accidents which moved through the House right before break, it appears trial lawyers will be the big winners in Michigan if the majority in the House continues to have their way.

    That is not good for Michigan citizens because it will cost them directly.  When trial lawyers win, our citizens pay with higher insurance premiums or fewer jobs.

    Now, when jobs disappear, tax revenue disappears too, right?  You referenced the $5 million daily budget deficit.  We learned this week that tax receipts in Lansing are likely going to be over $100 million in the red again for the month of March.  How do we balance this budget?

    That is absolutely correct.  Fewer jobs means bigger budget problems for our families as well as our state government.  

    The true, or long term answer for our family budgets and our state budget is jobs.  In the last 6 years Michigan has lost about 450,000 jobs.  Those jobs would have generated over a Billion dollars in state revenue.  It has never been more clear that the legislature needs to chase jobs, not revenue.

    What about spending so-called stimulus cash to balance the books?

    Using short term money for ongoing expenses is a very dangerous path, and unfortunately it is a path it appears the Governor and Democrats in the state House are marching us toward.  If we use this money to maintain spending this will literally build a cliff into the state budget.  In 27 months, when the federal money goes away, we will have an enormous budget deficit.  You know the cry then will be that even more tax hikes are the only way out.

    But, our current direction seems even worse than that as the House majority seems intent on using this short term money to not only preserve spending but grow spending.

    I believe we need to view Federal Stimulus dollars not only as taxpayer money but as a mortgage on our kids and grandkids.  Where we use that money we need to invest in projects that have a long life and will create long  term job growth.

    When your household is struggling most people know it would be financial disaster to go take a second mortgage to continue spending in the same way as you did when times were better.  It should be common sense that you cannot spend your way out of deficits nor borrow your way out of debt.  That sense is common in grass roots, and I am fighting everyday to bring that to Lansing.

    I want to go back to something you said months ago now, immediately following the Governor's State of the State speech.  She claimed she was going to eliminate ten state departments and in the spirit of bipartisanship you applauded her for that but insisted that those sorts of promises demanded follow-through.

    Now, more than ten weeks later, what ever happened to those ten taxpayer funded departments?

    I heard several things that were encouraging at that time.  I also heard the Governor say she would not use one time money for ongoing expenses. However, as we've seen and already discussed, I believe that is exactly what is happening.  I've also heard her say she doesn't want to increase the cost of doing business in Michigan, but her administration's march toward ergonomics standards would be a huge bureaucratic effort and would do just that.

    I have taken these things the Governor said to heart.  And, I will be looking to do everything I can to help her keep her original word.

    Her backtracking doesn't give most Michiganders much hope that anything is going to get done in Lansing, though, does it?

    They certainly have every right to be skeptical.  I think it's my job, and the job of my colleagues in the House to work with the Senate to be sure that we reign in state spending, and stand tall against attacks on Michigan's job creators.  Because, in doing so, we will be standing up for our hard working families in Michigan.

    What are you hearing from your constituents?

    The biggest issues are related to jobs.  Unemployment concerns were the dominant constituent contacts we received in my office. However, we also hear a lot about property taxes, and the unfairness of property taxes going up when property values are falling.

    I hear a genuine concern over spending and the budget from my constituents. That usually contrasts with the flood of email we get from special interests that are fighting for more spending.  

    I firmly believe I work for the 90,000 people in my district, and I note where the comments come from and which ones are from my bosses:  the voters in the 63rd District.

    Speaking of constituents, did you have a chance to make it out to the big "tea party" this past Wednesday?  What did you think of that sort of massive outpouring of discontent with government spending?

    I did not make it to Wednesday's tea party in Lansing because I spent tax day going Door to Door in my district talking with my constituents directly. However, I will attend a tea party in Battle Creek on Saturday April 18th.

    I think this kind of grass roots activism is great, and is exactly what our country was founded upon.  Ours is still a system of "We the People". However, we need voters to be engaged, pay attention, and hold their elected officials accountable.  I am encouraged because that is exactly what voters demonstrated with the tea parties.  These were not trumped up events with bused in nor paid `protesters' like we often see on the other side.  These were taxpayers expressing their own personal feelings, and doing so spontaneously.

    I stood by our taxpayers in my local tea party, and I look to stand up for them while I work in Lansing.

    Is there anything else you'd like to cover before I let you go?

    We hear a lot of mixed messages from Lansing.  But I hear one clear message from my constituents:  We need jobs, and we need our elected officials to get the job done.

    I am encouraged by the growing activism we see in our communities, and the attention paid by what's happening in Lansing and Washington, D.C.  

    We need an informed electorate.  I appreciate all of your efforts, Nick, and each of your readers' work to be sure they know what's going on with their government.

    Representative Bolger, thanks again for the time!

    Any time.  You and your readers can reach me at my office email: jamesbolger@house.mi.gov any time you need me.

    < MSM report big news: Conservatives DON'T riot | Hey, I'm on TV! (Akindele, too!) >

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    RightMichigan Exclusive: An Interview with Represe (none / 0) (#1)
    by Bruce on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:49:18 AM EST
    These interviews are excellent work on your part.  Too bad some of the Democratic Party representatives are not put on the "hot seat."

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