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My twelve steps to turn Michigan around

If a miracle would happen and I was taken seriously as a candidate for governor of Michigan, I would have these twelve steps as a priority:
1) Slash the governor’s personal budget by over 60%, eliminate lifetime pensions for all elected officials and demand a part-time legislature (and since no senators or reps will put this issue on the ballot as I have requested repeatedly, do not allow any payments to legislators until they slash the state budget to give private citizens more of their own money).
2) Cut education costs a minimum of 30% over the next four years. There is no reason college or public grade school education should cost as much now versus twenty years ago when I was in school; as far as three easy fixes, we should start school after Labor Day and end school before Memorial Day, eliminate the state “mandated” professional development days and consider a four-day school week. Also, have a new statewide private insurance company supported by businesses and government employees that is sensible, cost effective and doesn’t pay its employees on commissions and bonuses. Insurance costs are killing not just health care costs but also business and auto insurance. We can solve this issue in state and slash the cost of education WHILE IMPROVING THE QUALITY of education.
3) Consolidate city and county governments, demand the retirement of state workers who are eligible for their pensions (currently some 40,000 are qualified) and do not replace them and also demand the state expenses to be $30 billion in 2011, $26 billion in 2012, $22 billion in 2013 and under $20 billion in 2014. This is achieved by using private-sector principles and competition for those government employees and departments at the state level who cannot meet these goals.
4) Invest in nuclear power, natural gas, “clean coal” and other alternative and cost-competitive energy sources immediately. Use this opportunity when contractors need work to invest in more environmentally-friendly yet proven energy plants rather than just believing in wind and solar. The largest user of 24/7/365 user of electricity in Hemlock recently did a nearly $2 billion dollar expansion but didn’t build a large solar panel farm. Instead, this company added a huge substation and added electric lines from Bay City/Midland to compensate for their new energy needs. Did I mention they help supply product for solar panels? Alternative and “green” energy sounds great, but right now is the time to upgrade our electrical grid with plans on moving Michigan to the top of the heap instead of lingering at or near the bottom of this nation’s employability list.
5) Allow private sector business owners, corporate executives, veterans and retirees to form the solutions/tax structure they want to make Michigan viable. The private sector drives the public sector, not the other way around. Allow small companies to compete for government services to make our tax burdens as small as possible while improving our level of government services. We compete every day in the private sector. We need a major overhaul of our thinking of the government’s role in our lives. Private companies build roads, educate people and also provide security; and we do it better, for less each and every time.
6) Take our share of the national debt and setup a payoff plan. We will also keep our federal taxes in this state so that we can immediately put Michiganders back to work with our existing tax dollars while not only reducing our debt principal but also returning money to all citizens with offsets.
7) Speaking of offsets, and as a continuation of the slashing of the expense side of government, public employees should realize with matching insurance plans and helping plan a smaller and more efficient expense side in Lansing, they could also get the same elimination of the state income tax, reductions in federal and local taxes, smaller property tax bills and hopefully realize that we can eventually eliminate most every tax as long as the offsets result in private sector growth. As more people are off the government payroll either as employees or entitlements, more tax revenues are generated with a smaller expense side already in place. We have gone from an $11 billion state budget in the mid-1980s to over $44 billion this year. Also, last year we had not only a $1.7 billion deficit but also included a nearly $8 billion “federal contribution” to our state so that we could hide the fact we are way over budget. We slash and burn in the private sector. Why is the government any different?
8) Eliminate all small business taxes since small businesses also pay property and personal income taxes. As small businesses go, so does Michigan. Larger companies will also see the benefits of the new Michigan tax reductions. Besides, most corporations are giving tax exemptions and grants that no other business is given. We will all benefit from a healthier small business environment.
9) Use the excess money from my first six months in office to stimulate road repairs and education overhauls. Consolidation of districts and forced retirements are not a great answer but we in the private sector often are terminated just before our retirement is reached to save corporations money. At least the government employees are getting to work until retirement.
10) Work out balances of trade with China and other global trading partners. The U.S. has been misled by our Washington and Lansing legislators and other government leaders for decades. By even gaining a balance of trade instead of a deficit will do wonders for Michigan business.
11) Have strict environmental policy but don’t have the lopsided amount Michigan currently has to drive businesses away. I wish we had no pollution and everything was perfect environmentally. However, we are an industrial state and nation and it is detrimental to business growth to cripple businesses with stricter regulations than neighboring states have around the Great Lakes. Yes, clean up our natural resources as quick as we can but do it in such a fashion that allows businesses to grow at the same time.
12) Vote out all legislators at all levels who are unwilling to work voluntarily until we get Michigan working again. I gave away my salary and all other payments when I was in elected office before. I am not saying elected officials shouldn’t be paid but they all can sacrifice until we get Michigan working again. Vote out every incumbent and that is a starting point. Of course, Michigan will re-elect a Democrat or Republican career politician this November and then complain all the way till the next election. When will voters realize that re-electing the same parties will always give the same results?


Tom Neuenfeldt
Midland, MI
Independent for MI Governor
(only 30,000 signatures needed to get me on the ballot)


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