Libertarian challenges Republicans in opening policy speech
November 15, 2017, Allegan, Michigan –
With the race for Governor a full year away, Bill Gelineau, candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination, ignited a crowd of supporters and others in an open forum Tuesday night with a detailed outline for reshaping Michigan’s budget.
Early in his speech, Mr. Gelineau outlined his plan to unite forces from all corners of the liberty movement. “If you liked Gary Johnson’s solutions oriented approach – then I think you’ll like what I have to say.” He went on to cite that as a small businessman and family man, he decried outrageous and radical changes that make the burdens imposed by government unpredictable. “Massive changes in tax rates and huge changes in service structures are not what Michigan needs.” Rather, he suggested a “persistent and active effort” to reduce spending.
The heart of the Gelineau Plan is his “10 by 10” a reduction in the current Headlee Amendment State Spending Cap. After first explaining his personal connection to tax-limitation hero Dick Headlee, he challenged leading Republican candidates to step to the plate and endorse a plan to reduce the Constitutional cap on State spending.
Current State spending is now hovering just above 8% of personal income – limited by law to 9.49%. Not since 1999 has the State exceeded the cap, which automatically triggers a rebate to all taxpayers.
“This is a responsible first step”, added Libertarian State Chairman Bill Hall. “A more realistic cap will force the legislature to focus on core priorities instead of pet projects and the ‘bringing home the bacon’ mentality which prevails in Lansing.”
By contrast, Governor Snyder’s $56.5 billion budget represents <u>an increase of 19.7% in just 6 years</u>.
One of the key areas of the Gelineau Plan involves elimination of the Michigan Strategic Fund. While allowing for reassignment of some activities, he outlined a basic criticism which echoes a prime theme in his campaign. “Government should not be subsidizing businesses. Period.” He explained that current difficulties in maintaining critical infrastructure are made worse when huge inducements are given to well-connected big businesses – while simultaneously, small businesses and homeowners must carry an ever-increasing share of the tax burden.
In addition to discussing tax and budget policy, Gelineau endorsed both marijuana legalization efforts. This is a huge opportunity to shift law enforcement priorities away from a prohibition culture to the protection of the public from malicious intent and fraud. From law enforcement to courts to prisons, the prohibition of marijuana is “a budget wrecker”.
The history of mental health throughout the world is rife with attempts to “help” and “do good work”. I accept as a premise that Libertarian social engineering is not any better than that of Democrats or Republicans who have had good intentions. It is my commitment to provide a comprehensive statement of the plans that I would work to implement with the legislature.
Our team is still in the process of developing a comprehensive statement. But, unlike many of the others in this race, we don’t want to rush for the sheer purpose of having something for people to read. Most of the plan is being announced on May 9, 2018 at the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Michigan Chapter – State Conference in Traverse City. Unlike most others in the race, I intend to use the experience to learn more about the public policy aspects of mental illness — and listen to concerns.
I take as a given that we live in a world of limited resources. So, any plans must live within the Michigan budget constraints I’ve outlined in my “Drop the Cap” proposal.
That having been said – much of the discretionary budget in Michigan is wasted on unproductive items. The top of that list is the Michigan Strategic Fund – much of which provides support to profitable business operations which should not receive government assistance. I’ve outlined my support for legalization of marijuana and a specific commitment to reduce our prison population by 30%. As such, I will outline specific proposals to assist the Michigan Department of Public Health develop innovative programs.
Mental health itself carries a very controversial purpose within the larger liberty movement. It is not our goal to define and monitor normal. Instead, the role of public policy should be to ensure our citizens have access to REAL programs which help them realize their own dreams. Too often, mental health assistance has been stigmatized and isolated from being integrated with the other important socialization systems — education and work.
Our proposal, when announced (tentatively on June 22), will provide a clear new direction for people struggling in Michigan. And, like everything else, we tell you exactly how we’re going to pay for it. Stay tuned!