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Legislators want tax cuts. Gov. Snyder wants more money for schools, environment

In his final State of the State address, Governor Rick Snyder emphasized plans to strengthen infrastructure.
Rick Snyder for Michigan
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In his final State of the State address, Governor Rick Snyder emphasized plans to strengthen infrastructure.

Stateside's conversation with Rick Pluta and Zoe Clar, co-hosts of It's Just Politics on Michigan Radio.

On Tuesday evening Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder outlined his plans for the state during his last year in office. Michigan Radio Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and resident political junkie Zoe Clark joined Lester Graham for a conversation about his State of the State address.

On whether the governor can take credit for several “comebacks”

"You know, when times are good then governors get more credit than they deserve, and when times are bad then governors get, you know, more blame than they deserve," Pluta said.

"And just as well, the democratic response, they get to claim, ‘Well, they’re not good enough jobs,’" Clark said. "Well the folks in Flint surely don’t feel like there’s a comeback, and those in the neighborhoods of Detroit who aren’t in downtown and seeing the Gilbert and Illitch growth would say no. So of course, every perspective has its own about whether or not things are good or bad, but there are some significant numbers that this governor pulled out.

On increasing funds for roads

"We will see," Pluta said. "It was kind of interesting because that was one of just a few markers that the governor threw down on the Legislature where he kind of went, ‘You know, where we’ve gone in the past just hasn’t been good enough,' that the Legislature didn’t give him as much for roads as he wanted the last time around, and this was him saying, 'You know what, we’re not done with that conversation.'”

"Right," Clark said. "And for Rick Snyder, roads, infrastructure has so much been a part of the conversation I would say almost up until the Flint water crisis, when that story took over everything, for good measure. But I mean let’s remember for years in the first term of this governor’s administration it was always talking about his number, which is that we needed more than a billion dollars a year for roads and, this latest package was nowhere close to that, so it will be interesting to see what number he says he wants. Is it close to the more than one billion that he had asked for years ago? And, at this point, how much can he do in the last year, less than a year? And I can tell you, I don’t think it’s going to be putting  a billion dollars this year.

On Legislature efforts to cut taxes

"The governor says that he wants money for infrastructure, for roads, as we talked about, but other types of infrastructure," Pluta said. "Invasive species, environmental clean-ups, more money for schools—all of those are going to cost money that’s not in the budget right now, and I think it’s probably going to cost more than any growth that we can expect to see in revenues."

"The first year that this governor delivered his State of the State address, Rick and I were covering it, and at the end of the speech Rick turned around and said, 'Well, do we need a Republican response to this Republican governor’s State of the State address?’" Clark said. "Hearing some of this speech reminded me a little bit of that.”

On the sudden emphasis on the environment

"Because this is something that’s been under discussion behind closed doors for years now, that the money that the state raised through the sale of environmental cleanup bonds has run out, even though we are still paying for those bonds, and the cleanups still need to happen," Pluta said. "That job is undone, and so the question is, where do you come up with the money for this new round of environmental cleanups, and they’ve never been able to resolve it, and I think what we’re hearing here is the governor saying, 'Look, I’m only here for a few more months, and this is all stuff that’s got to be wrapped up before I walk out the door.’"

"It’s an interesting thing to note because we haven’t always had an environmental-first policy out of Lansing over the past eight years, but I would remind all of us that when this governor was first running, so almost eight years ago, the League of Conservation Voters actually endorsed Snyder, and it was one of the first Republicans that they had endorsed in a very, very long time," Clark said. "I believe that some of them came to maybe regret that decision, or feel like they put too much hope in a Republican and to see some of the environmental policies, but again this is all coming back kind of full circle to initially what this governor wanted to spend money on: infrastructure, the environment, recycling…"(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast oniTunes,Google Play, or with thisRSS link)

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