“He’s ready to change things in Lansing to get Michigan back to work. He has the knowledge, experience and backbone to make the tough choices from day one to turn our state around.”

First, let’s look at reality: Michigan is a state that has been pinned down in a recession for years and currently holds the nation’s second highest unemployment rate. Secondly, due to term limits, more than half of the lawmakers now in the state Legislature will be gone from their current seats starting in 2011. That is a lot of unexperienced newcomers entering office and Michigan’s next governor won’t have time for on-the-job training.

Mike Bouchard has been a small business owner, leader in the state legislature under Governor Engler during Michigan’s roaring 90′s, and now manages the largest sheriff’s office in the state:

He’ll be able to bring his knowledge from serving as a leader in the state Senate to develop lasting solutions. He was in the Senate when our leaders worked together to deliver balanced budgets and tax cuts every year he was there. As Assistant Senate Majority Leader, he worked closely with leaders like Governor Engler and then-Senate Majority Leader Posthumus. Mike placed a priority on helping families. He pushed for the Michigan Sex Offender Registry requiring sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies and making that information publicly available for concerned parents and neighbors. He also chaired the education committee where he worked to empower parents and students to make more decisions about their future.

As Senator, Mike led efforts that made Michigan more business and people friendly, as well as a leader on cutting taxes. He wrote the real estate transfer tax cut that has saved Michigan taxpayers billions of dollars. In fact, keeping with his record, Mike was the first candidate in the governor’s race to sign the Americans for Tax Reform’s (ATR) “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” – pledging to fight “any and all efforts to increase taxes.” Like many Michigan families, he knows that government can’t tax or spend its way to prosperity.

Just a politician? Nope. Meet Sheriff Bouchard:

Having run one of the largest sheriff departments in the country for nearly a decade, he learned how to separate “needs” from “wants”. As Oakland County Sheriff, he manages 1,200 employees with an annual budget of more than $130 million. He’s always finding innovative and creative ways to save taxpayer money while continuing to deliver on his department’s core mission to protect the community.

[…] He is also part of the Oakland County team that anticipates potential budget shortfalls by operating on a three-year rolling budget. That kind of foresight and planning has made Oakland County one of only 40 counties – out of over 3,000 – in America that has a AAA bond rating. But he’s also had to make the tough choices during these difficult economic times – including cutting back his budget by up to 20 percent over the past several years while not sacrificing community safety.

Not enough experience? How about this:

As sheriff, Bouchard has been quick to help out his comrades. He worked Ground Zero after Sept. 11 and organized one of the first convoys to respond after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast.

I think it is safe to say that Mike Bouchard is the only candidate who has the experience and backbone to be Michigan’s next successful governor and fix our great state!

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MIKE BOUCHARD’S BLUEPRINT FOR PROSPERITY:

Here are some highlights from Bouchard’s plan that will help fix Lansing and get Michigan back to work:

JOBS:

  • Bouchard will eliminate the oppressive Michigan Business Tax.
  • Michigan’s business permitting process will be reformed, with some permit mandates eliminated and the rest simplified. The review process will be expedited and timeliness set in stone.
  • Create a climate where jobs can flourish again and would restore Michigan’s economic competitiveness with other states and countries.
  • Bouchard is willing to make the bold, dramatic changes necessary in order to send a message to the rest of the world that Michigan is serious about competing for jobs. One such dramatic move would be making Michigan a Right-to-Work state.

ECONOMY:

  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will be transparent and Bouchard’s administration will consolidate the present 300 pages of economic development laws into a single, coherent Michigan Economic Development Code, which will be easy to follow.
  • “Michigan Construction Jobs Now” plan: For a year, this proposal will allow homeowners and businesses to renovate, remodel and expand without an increase on their property tax bill. This plan will also lead to long-term investments in Michigan by encouraging homeowners and job providers to enhance the value of their properties now.
  • Pursue public-private partnerships which will reduce state spending and create jobs.

TAX REFORM:

  • Besides eliminating the oppressive Michigan Business Tax, Michigan’s tax policy should not be about picking winners and losers. We must concentrate on reducing the tax burden for all Michigan companies rather than a select few.
  • Bouchard was the first candidate in the governor’s race to sign the Americans for Tax Reform’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” – pledging to fight “any and all efforts to increase taxes”.
  • EXPERIENCE: When Bouchard was a state senator, he wrote the Real Estate Transfer Tax cut, saving Michigan taxpayers $358 MILLION annually. In addition, he is opposed to all increases in the marginal tax rate for both individuals and businesses.

GOVERNMENT REFORM:

  • As governor, he will mandate a two-thirds supermajority be required in each chamber to raise taxes or increase spending. This reform protects taxpayers and businesses now and in the future so they will have a stable tax environment in which to invest in Michigan and create jobs.
  • Implement a part-time legislature, which gives lawmakers part-time pay and eliminates health-care benefits.
  • Implement a two-year budget with a three-year financial outlook based on externally verified numbers, instead of the existing crisis-driven process which has resulted in the government nearly shutting down in two of the last three years.
  • Mandate a hard May 15 budget deadline. If lawmakers miss they deadline, they will be docked a day’s pay, along with the governor and lieutenant governor, for each day the budget is late.
  • Require all public service employees, on average to have wages and benefits that are within 3 percent of those comparable skills in the private sector. It is time Lansing mirrored the reality of the people it serves.

EDUCATION:

  • Continue supporting charter schools and school competition. Charters and schools of choice empower parents to make the educational decisions that best suits their children.
  • Teacher merit pay also falls along these lines. Nothing demoralizes an excellent educator more than seeing other teachers retaining positions and obtaining more pay because they’ve been in the system another year.  Teaching is not a job but a calling and we must motivate, support, encourage and reward.
  • Put every available dollar into the classroom and have every school district competitively bid out secondary services, such as busing, janitorial and food service, on an intermediate school district level.

PUBLIC SAFETY:

  • Under a Bouchard administration instead of releasing Michigan’s career criminals from prison to save money, we will find reforms and tighten budgets to better protect the public.
  • EXPERIENCE: In Oakland County, Bouchard privatized the jail food service, saving taxpayers over $1.6 million a year. If our leaders in Lansing took the same approach, according to a 2008 audit by the non-partisan Auditor General, a statewide implementation would save Michigan taxpayers $38 MILLION or more annually. Those savings would help us keep the criminals behind bars, not on our streets. Michigan leads the Midwest in violent crime, has the least police officers per capita and dumping another 1,700 career criminals back into the streets of the state with the highest unemployment rate will lead to disastrous results.

HEALTHCARE:

  • Look at withholding federal tax revenues generated in Michigan to force the federal government to abandon all unfunded and unconstitutional mandates.
  • With $700 million from the unfunded healthcare mandate we could create a system to help the uninsured receive treatment in a more cost effective preventative manner that does not destroy the health care system and still have money for other priorities.
  • Bouchard will put the federal government on notice.  Any additional unfunded mandates on Michigan will be met with a tough fight under a Bouchard administration.
  • Government should focus on making healthcare more affordable, available and patient centered. They should not be forcing the public to purchase a product.

OUTDOORS/HUNTING:

  • Bouchard will protect the rights of fishing and outdoor enthusiasts, and ensure they have a say in discussions about land and water use.
  • Under a Bouchard administration, outdoors enthusiasts will know they will have no stronger advocate. Hunters and anglers will have a seat at the table when decisions about land and water use are made.  Additionally, I will preserve Michigan’s hunting and fishing traditions and its incredible natural resources for future generations.
  • We need more emphasis on getting young people into outdoor activities by offering more free fishing weekends and a two-for-one hunting license for parents and their children.
  • Bouchard would appoint members to the state’s Natural Resources Commission who share my commitment to preserving Michigan’s hunting and fishing traditions, and safeguarding our state’s natural resources.
  • EXPERIENCE: Bouchard has always been a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment.  He’s a long-time NRA member, a gun owner, and an avid hunter.  He believes in the U.S. Constitution and the protection of our individual rights. He has received “A” ratings and endorsements from the NRA and the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners in each of my previous elections. He will continue to fight for sportsmen’s rights across the state.

To read more about Mike Bouchard’s Blueprint for Prosperity, click here.

If you would like to watch some interviews, choose from the links below:

FINAL REMINDER:

I LOVE MICHIGAN AND WANT TO GIVE HER THE BEST I CAN… MAKE SURE YOU HEAD OUT TO THE VOTING BOOTH ON AUGUST 3, 2010 AND VOTE FOR MIKE BOUCHARD!

FOR ABSENTEE BALLOT INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.