LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jonathan Lindsey, R-Allen, on Thursday issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s population council announced its recommendations on how the state can grow its population:
“This council had the potential to be a good thing for Michigan, but it’s proven to be a sham that put forth the governor’s already-determined, agenda-driven goals.
“I was proud to be nominated by Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt, however after my nomination was refused and the wagons began to circle, it quickly became clear that this effort was not being taken seriously and the council was not open to new ideas on how we can grow our state’s population or economy.
“To no one’s surprise, the partisan council echoed many of the same failed partisan priorities that got us into this position in the first place. While they purposely avoided calling for raising taxes, there is no place left to get the $2.5 billion that was called for. We began last year with a budget surplus of over $9 billion that could have put us in a great spot to make meaningful changes that create educational opportunities and attract and encourage growth — but legislative Democrats instead ran through that money on partisan projects in their districts months before the end of this last term.
“The call to expand education could have been done legislatively earlier this year when Democratic leadership went in the opposite direction and eliminated reading standards as well as teacher evaluation standards that put teachers union demands ahead of student needs and parental involvement.
“Michigan’s shrinking population is a serious concern that requires serious discussions and proposals. What we saw today from the governor’s council included neither. The report was nothing more than ambiguous lip service that opens the door for more of the same failed tax and spend policies that got us here in the first place.
“Making it more expensive to live and raise a family here is not only an unreasonable burden to place on state residents and businesses, it will have the opposite effect and will force more people to leave our state. I will fight against any effort to increase tax burdens to grow state bureaucracy. We need to look at proven methods to attract the best talent: Reducing the tax burden, tightening educational standards, supporting small businesses and expanding the ideas of freedom and liberty that our country was founded on.”