An economy that works for all
I believe that every Michigander should have an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream, as I have, and that government can either help or hinder in that pursuit.
For too long Lansing politicians have been hindering the middle class in favor of the very wealthy. The wealthy keep much more of their earnings while middle class workers are paying more than their fair share in taxes and fees. Meanwhile, incomes for average Michigan residents have remained static for decades. Michigan ranks 35th among all states in per capita income. That must change – by increasing the number of Michigan residents earning college degrees and vocational training.
I am the only candidate in this race who knows what it’s like to go hungry. I am the only candidate in this race who knows what it’s like to struggle with college costs. And I am the only candidate in this race who has created a single job.
I have purchased or started eight different small businesses, turning them into some of America’s fastest growing companies and creating hundreds of jobs in the process. I have seen what high-paying jobs and consistent job growth can do for an individual, a family and a community.
As a business owner, I understand the important contributions that small-business employers make to our state’s economy, and I know how difficult it is to thrive. I am the only candidate who knows what it’s like to make payroll taxes, and that perspective means I will work hard to ensure those taxes are spent wisely and not wasted.
It is critical that we nurture the industries that are the backbone of our economy, including the auto, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, and healthcare industries. It’s also important to remember that Michigan’s economy runs on small businesses. An overwhelming majority of Michigan businesses have fewer than 500 employees, but they provide 85 percent of the jobs.
As governor, I will use my insight and personal experience to help small businesses become more successful job creators, and I will foster a start-up business culture in order to grow Michigan’s economy.
To jump-start our economy, I will:
- Increase support for entrepreneurs who want to create jobs.
- Create tuition incentives to keep more college graduates here, and bigger incentives if they also create jobs.
- Reform the MEDC by:
- Increasing transparency for state tax incentives.
- Performing an audit to determine which incentives are working and which are simply corporate welfare.
- Creating strict clawbacks for incentives that do not bring the promised jobs.
- Invest in universal wireless internet to bring desperately needed economic growth to rural areas.
To address economic inequality, I will:
- Create tax fairness by moving to a graduated income tax system, like most prosperous states.
- Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. No one who works full-time should live below the poverty line.
- Enshrining collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.
- Increasing access to affordable child care so more families can participate in the economy.
- Requiring paid family leave so families do not lose economic ground when they have a child or when a health crisis hits.
- Passing equal pay for women so that all families have an equal opportunity to prosper.
Putting Michigan First, a Fair Share of Federal Funding and Fair Trade
For too long, Michigan workers have been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to trade agreements and federal funding coming to Michigan. I believe in trade, but there must be an even playing field for America and Michigan to compete with other countries in trading our products. Michigan is still among the greatest producers of cars and trucks in the world, and we should have fair trade agreements with other countries. In order to receive the benefits of trade, other countries must protect the rights of workers, pay fair wages to their workers, protect human rights, and also do everything possible to not endanger the environment in the production of products.
Michigan must do a better job of getting a fair share of federal funding. President Trump has proposed in his budget to almost completely eliminate the funding for Great Lakes cleanup efforts. The Trump proposal should be dead on arrival in Congress, and any efforts to allow for drilling for oil in the Great Lakes must be stopped as well. We have the largest source of clean drinking water in the world, and it must be protected at all costs, including any efforts to divert water to other states.