On a national level, boosting the economy and controlling spending are priorities for Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
“I’m proud to have been a part of changing the conversation or culture in Washington from how much more we are going to spend to how much are we going to cut spending,” Miller said. “That has been the most significant change in the debate in several generations.”
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, she said she is proud of the Beyond the Border Action Plan announced by President Barak Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The plan outlines initiatives where the countries will work together to address threats within and outside their borders. Miller said one of her goals for 2012 was to see many of the initiatives become realities.
“I would look to make sure the infrastructure needs of the Blue Water Bridge plaza are included in the next budget,” Miller said.
She also wants to continue work to protect the Great Lakes, she said.
“We’re really on the forefront of making sure there is less erosion of rivers, lakes and streams (in Michigan),” Miller said. “We’re working to develop legislation that can be used nationally.”
Lawmakers plan for the new year
By CRYSTAL GARCIA
Lawmakers are gearing up for 2012 with plans to continue tax and education reform.
In 2011, the Republican-controlled state Legislature eliminated the Michigan business tax and passed bills regarding teacher tenure and lifting a cap on the number of charter schools allowed in Michigan.
State Rep. Jud Gilbert, R-Algonac, is chairman of the House’s tax policy committee. He said he is proud of the tax policies instituted in 2011.
For 2012, he said he hopes to focus on the state’s personal property tax, which some legislators have proposed eliminating.
Eliminating the tax, he said, has “some economic benefits to business, but we also have to be aware of the various entities it funds — schools and local governments.”
Rep. Paul Muxlow, R-Brown City, said he is pleased with the Legislature’s work on the
“I think the biggest thing is the whole employment environment in this state has changed,” he said. “We’ve done a number of changes in this state.”
He said he wants to continue to make changes that will boost the state’s economy.
“Just to work hard and to make the state of Michigan look different each year,” Muxlow said.
Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Richmond, doesn’t have an agenda for 2012. She wants feedback from her district and constituents before acting, she said.
“I think we have been doing a great job,” she said. “It’s funny because everybody says we’re rushing things, but I don’t think we are. I think we are doing what needs to be done in the time we have to get it done.”
Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, plans to continue working on parent empowerment legislation, comprising six more bills to change state education. The bills include Senate Bill 619, which allows more cyber schools, and Senate Bill 620, which allows parents and/or teachers in a failing school to vote to convert it into a non-profit public charter school.
Some non-education issues Pavlov will work on in 2012 include the personal property tax, no fault auto insurance and invasive species, he said.
“You don’t attract people to the state if auto insurance is too high,” he said.