Republican candidate for governor Bill Schuette says the state budget needs to be looked at from top to bottom to find more money for fixing roads and infrastructure in Michigan. But increasing taxes is out, flat out, as an option.
Schuette, currently state Attorney General, appeared for a gubernatorial candidate interview held by a panel of reporters who belong to the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. The DJC is made up of Michigan Radio, WDET, Detroit Public Television, Bridge Magazine, Chalkbeat Detroit, and New Michigan Media.
Watch the full interview below, or read a full transcript here.
Schuette also blames the road situation on a long-standing lack of leadership and experience in the governor’s office.
“It is about leadership, it’s about drive,” Schuette says, “And no disrespect, our past two Governors, Governor Granholm and Governor Snyder, did not have legislative experience and I do in a strong and effective and accomplished fashion.” When it comes to the low performance of K-12 schools in Michigan, Schuette says he will protect the School Aid Fund from diversions into higher education. But his primary focus will be on new efforts to improve literacy among schoolchildren, rather than funding. “Having a literacy director in the governor’s office… making sure Michigan children are reading. That has not been done before,” says Schuette of his plan. “And a Michigan Reading Foundation. That has been used in Florida; Jeb Bush has used that in great ways here in Michigan. ” Schuette says the foundation could offer transportation scholarships for students who need to transfer to a better school but have no way of getting there. On social issues, Schuette repeatedly declined to answer whether he supports amending the Michigan Elliott Larsen Act to include LGBTQ as a protected category. The Act prohibits discrimination in housing, education and employment on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status. But Schuette says he wants a Michigan “without discrimination of any kind” and will work with the state Legislature on the issue. The DJC’s invitation to Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer remains open.