Why am I running for State Senator?
I believe I can accomplish something. I have chosen three main issues and fourteen other issues for which I believe there is enough bi-partisan support to pass legislation or work productively on the issue. Working across the aisle to pass legislation is not that difficult if you avoid tax increases-the only increase I propose is for roads. Each issue has varying lengths of explanations on why I believe the proposed action makes sense for the State of Michigan.
Many politicians make promises which do not add up financially. Republicans like to propose tax cuts without the pain of spending cuts and Democrats like to propose spending increases without the pain of tax increases. My issues equal a 2% tax and spend increase-all roads.
Vote for Paul Secrest, Democrat, Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
The three main issues are:
One of America’s bedrock principles has been strong local control of public schools. It has produced the most successful nation in the world. The State of Michigan has launched an all out assault on local school control with large numbers of “for profit” charter schools, and a massive “schools of choice” program. Michigan may soon lead the nation in “for profit” charter schools. What is driving the State of Michigan’s all-out assault on local school control?
Michigan Public schools are poor and need radical changes. Is this true?
No– Overall, Michigan ranks 14th in the nation in combined ACT/SAT scores-(Deseret News-June, 2012)
The changes occurring in K-12 education are very big and happening very fast and are, or will, have drastic impacts on every school district in the state.
Those advocating charter schools and “schools of choice” use a catchy political slogan. “COMPETITION WILL MAKE EDUCATION BETTER IN MICHIGAN“.
This makes sense–doesn’t competition make better athletes, or in some cases, drives business to make better products at a lower cost?
It simply does not make sense in K-12 education. The next time you hear someone advocating “competition” in K-12 education, stop them and tell them you will give them two minutes to explain why. The result will be a blank look and a stammering response. You cannot rationally explain why it makes sense.
Michigan is a state with good overall public education with some poor performing districts. We simply need to improve the poor ones, not destroy the entire system.
Our public schools do have a problem. Retiree pension costs and retiree health care costs have increased from 12% to 28% of school costs in the last decade. A simple negotiation needs to take place since funding is set based on a complicated formula. Classroom size needs to be frozen and current teachers and retired teachers need to battle over the available funds.
Canton School District-will your school district board be next to decide against its voters?
There has been a recent development which illustrates what huge numbers of charter schools and large “school choice” programs are doing to suburban Detroit School districts. The Canton School Board recently held a meeting to discuss whether or not to open the district to 200 slots of school choice. Despite every single parent at the meeting speaking in opposition to the proposal, the school board voted 5-2 to open up the schools. The state is forcing local school boards to go against its residents wishes because of the financial pressures brought about by the turmoil of charter schools and school choice.
Michigan roads are deteriorating at an alarming pace simply because we do not spend enough money on roads. I have met with the top people on the Oakland County Road Commission and was very impressed by how thorough and businesslike the Road Commission is. I hear many politicians talk about fixing our road system by realizing “efficiencies”. This is great political talk, but there must be a lot of waste for “efficiencies” to be possible. I frankly do not see the waste. Michigan politicians are simply praying for a mild winter—maybe not a good bet-Lake Superior barely hit 50 degrees this summer and just may entirely freeze over again. Oakland County just released its road budget for next year. It will decrease 7% due to a decrease in Federal funding.
If elected I will propose the following or support legislation similar to:
Increase the gas tax by 30 cents per gallon, index it for future inflation and add a penny to the tax every time the average fuel economy of vehicles increase by a set amount. Leave registration costs alone.
Many people have advised me not to propose this increase-political suicide–in reality, the gas tax is the only tax which is not automatically indexed for inflation-it has not increased for seventeen years.
This will raise approximately $1 billion per year and cost the average motorist (15,000 miles per year) $156 per year. It will also make sure we never have to put through another drastic gas tax hike.
Note: I realize this is a Republican-leaning district and proposing a tax increase in a Republican-leaning district is very dangerous for a political candidate. However, I also try to do something politicians generally shy away from. I have made sure to financially balance the seventeen issues I talk about—ie: a proposed spending increase must be offset by a spending reduction or tax increase. My overall platform is a 2% tax and spending increase—all on roads.
Comparison of Michigan’s roads with a home with a leaky roof.
Michigan’s roads are similar to two homeowners who have a roof which needs to be replaced. A new roof costs $4,000. One homeowner has $3,000 in the bank and one has $10,000 in the bank. The first homeowner is forced to fix only the holes at $800, then $900 for the next year’s holes, and a $1,000 for the third years holes, etc. The second homeowner pays $4,000 for the new roof and will not spend another penny for twenty years. The first homeowner is in a downward death spiral and will eventually lose his house. The second homeowner had the resources to take the financial hit and stays in his house and eventually rebuilds his finances. Michigan roads are in the death spiral of the first homeowner. The state must increase taxes in order to have the funds to make the financially prudent long-term decisions.
Working Class Jobs
Michigan has experienced a very rough fifteen years, but today has one of the brightest job outlooks in the nation. The auto industry is a tremendous anchor industry. Its product wears out and must be replaced and the industry attracts technology. Michigan’s large numbers of engineers is attractive to manufacturing companies. The overall weak national economy has extended car purchases and we may have another five to ten years of consistent demand for cars since the average age of cars has not declined.
Michigan also has an advantage states in the South and West and Illinois do not have. It has, by and large, kept illegal labor from taking over its manual labor working class job market. We must be vigilant about protecting these jobs. The Northern part of this Senate District, in particular, has huge numbers of manual working class jobs.
If elected, I will propose the strongest E-verify (employers must verify they are employing legal workers) in the nation.
Voters need to understand how much differently the Federal Government has handled unemployed Americans in the Great Recession of 2008 verses how it handled unemployed Americans in the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Great Depression—The government stopped all legal immigration-(there was not any illegal immigration), and employed unemployed Americans in the CCC and built the National Park system.
Great Recession of 2008-The Federal Government allowed the eight million illegal workers-(this is a government number), to keep their jobs, and continued to allow one to two million legal immigrants into our country every year. It has also allowed 900,000 H1B1 visa holders to take middle class tech jobs.
Instead of expanding government job opportunities doing productive work for unemployed Americans the Federal Government has forced unemployed Americans into government dependency. (1) Social Security Disability expanded by four million people, and (2) The Federal government helped those still working by augmented the wages of working class workers by $3/hour ($5,700/family) through the Earned Income Credit.
The response to the great Depression left a great National Park system. The response to the Great Recession is about to collapse. Social Security Disability is headed towards a payment cut of 20% in 2016 because the fund is out of money. The ability of the country to pay the Earned Income Credit will be stressed once interest rates rise to historical levels. An interest rate rise of 3% adds $600 Billion to a total discretionary budget of $1 Trillion-$500 Billion of which is military)
The 2008 approach of letting illegal workers continue to work while forcing Americans workers into government dependency is a bi-partisan effort. Democratic politicians see illegal immigrants as potential Democratic voters, and Republicans use illegal immigration as a token issue-they check the box saying they are against it and then take Chamber of Commerce money or endorsements. The Chamber of Commerce supports illegal immigrants because they help break unions and lower the wages of working Americans.