In this morning's news...
GOP Senatorial Debate
Six Republican candidates who are hoping to unseat U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in November attended a debate last night organized by the Ottawa County Patriots and a huge range of issues were discussed. “Immigration, abortion, gun rights, right to work laws, Medicaid and Medicare, social security, the EPA and other federal departments, President Obama’s health care law, military spending, participation in the United Nations, the federal tax code, embryonic stem cell research, Sharia Law, Supreme Court appointments, energy policy, and the recently repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ military policy,” Lindsey Smith reports. Former West Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra; Roscommon businessman Peter Konetchy; pastor and former Kent County probate judge Randy Hekman; Chuck Marino, and Scotty Bowman all attended. Attorney Clark Durant, a charter schools advocate, could not attend.
State Income Tax Cut?
A proposal at the state Capitol would cut the Michigan income tax rate to 3.9 percent over the next five years, down from the current rate of 4.35 percent. Laura Weber reports:
Republican state Senator Jack Brandenburg sponsored the measure. He said people in Michigan were promised the reduction during messy budget and tax deals made in 2007. Brandenburg said he told his Republican colleagues about his plan earlier this month.He said an estimated $450 million budget surplus convinced him it’s a good time to propose the rollback. Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville cautiously supports the proposal, but he said he’s hesitant to spend money that could be added to the state’s rainy day savings fund. Democrats say surplus should be used to restore cuts made to K-12 schools and higher education.
MI Redistricting Plans Get OK
The U.S. Justice Department has given the OK to Michigan’s new redistricting plans, the Associated Press reports. From the AP:
Michigan and 15 other states need federal approval for some or all redistricting plans. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the plans for redrawing U.S. House and state legislative districts, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed them. In November, Republican [Attorney General Bill] Schuette asked U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to approve the plan, and the Justice Department said Jan. 12 it doesn't object. On Dec. 8, labor and civil rights groups sued to challenge new boundaries for Detroit seats in the state House. The suit says the new map forces black incumbents to run against each other and dilutes the political representation of Hispanics. That case continues.