Schleiger for change

Candidate talks tax reform

SCHLEIGER

MARQUETTE — Gubernatorial candidate Todd Schleiger, who entered the race as an independent, has big plans for the state of Michigan.

Schleiger, who sat down with The Mining Journal as part of his “Common Sense” tour on Friday, said he wants to give the power back to Michigan voters.

If elected in November, Schleiger is proposing, among a host of other things, the addition of 500,000 new jobs in his first four years as governor.

He said infrastructure upgrades alone could produce between 175,000 to 250,000 jobs, and the legalization of marijuana could produce new jobs in the tens of thousands.

“If (legalization is) done properly here in the state of Michigan — I mean, I personally don’t want other states and other major companies coming in here to do it,” he said. “I want this for the people of Michigan, because in the first year alone Wall Street has predicted $7.2 billion in sales (in the state). But the first year … alone would be 75,000 jobs between growers, transporters and the dispensaries and everyone else.”

Other jobs would be created by what Schleiger calls a “complete restructuring of the tax system.”

“We have so many taxes that overlap that we don’t need,” Schleiger said. “So with all that said and done, … the jobs we are predicting for the first four years would be 100,000 new jobs … created just by restructuring the tax system for companies that want to come back in.”

Schleiger said under his tax plan businesses big and small would be required to play by the same rules.

“Closing the ‘dark stores’ loophole that allows big-box retailers to dodge their tax obligations is one of my top priorities,” Schleiger said. “My plan to restructure the tax system will make it easier and affordable for companies to operate in our state; lower taxes equal more jobs for the people of Michigan.”

As part of his tax blueprint, Schleiger would also eliminate personal property taxes for a primary residence in Michigan.

“And again, the first thought that comes to our mind, and I am sure you are thinking it, is how do we pay for our schools if I do something like that?” Schleiger said. “I will be looking into where and how our educational system is being funded, and making sure the funding is going where it is supposed to go. I will continue to advance our schools, making sure they do not fall behind, and placing priority on ways to fund and keep our schools up-to-date.”

Schleiger said every expenditure and tax cut he intends to implement is offset, and that the corporate income tax would be modified to 3 percent across the board.

Small businesses, which constitute two-thirds of Michigan industry, are the only ones currently paying the full 6 percent corporate tax rate, he said, but companies like General Motors pay just over 4 percent and insurance companies pay less than 2 percent.

“The insurance industry as a whole (currently) pays 1.75 (percent). This is extremely well thought-out,” Schleiger said. “Everything I have put together is offsetting. We’ve run the numbers over and over, and when we first put the plan together we were off by 2 percent. And I am in the transportation industry. It’s commonsense — and that’s what we need to bring back to Lansing.”

Schleiger said lowering health insurance costs by 50 percent and auto insurance by 41 to 70 percent, and eliminating property taxes on a principal residence could represent significant savings.

“Those three things alone will save the average family of four in the state of Michigan between $6,000 and $12,000,” Schleiger said.

Schleiger said the goal is to put someone at the governor’s desk who will use commonsense to affect real positive change.

“We need somebody who is going to do what they say and get the job done for the people,” Schleiger said. “I want to bring real accountability to our elected officials.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.