WKAR is interviewing the six candidates vying to become Michigan's next governor on November 6. Todd Schleiger is running for office with the U.S. Taxpayers Party.
We have multiple issues here in Michigan. We have issues with our roads, which have been promised to be fixed for nearly 40 years, and they haven’t done a thing towards that, other than they’ve figured out that our gas tax funds have been a lucrative fund for them to pilfer from. So, my plan is to take that and actually use it for what it was created for and actually fix our roads.
If you look at the state budget page, it states that there’s only $2.5 billion coming from the gas tax and diesel tax. That actual number is over $12 billion.**
Any time they want more money from the people of Michigan, they say it’s for our roads. So, we actually need to spend the money that we actually get for our taxes and put it where it needs to go.
Water quality is a top concern in our state. We have PFAS, lead and copper in some drinking water areas; that’s affecting safety. What’s your plan to make sure Michigan water is safe to drink?
Well, we have a huge problem with our infrastructure. It’s outdated and we need to update it. As a matter of fact, the infrastructure program that I would put into place would create nearly 250,000 jobs. We have to replace water lines, we have to replace sewer lines, we need to get our electrical grid up to speed. We need to get a whole slew of things.
What would you do about protecting our water supply in the Great Lakes from illegal withdrawl by other states under the Great Lakes Compact?
Well, the Great Lakes Compact is eight governors, if I remember right. We need to work together in order to protect our Great Lakes. There’s also talk about some pipeline going from Lake Michigan all the way down to Texas and Arkansas. That will never happen in my administration. From my beliefs and understandings, we have 20 percent of the free water in the world….or, I should say, fresh water, not the free water!
But either way, we need to protect that. I mean, we’ve got invasive Asian carp species in there that we need to take care of. We need to get our system cleaned up. We need to provide fresh water for the state.
I’d like to ask you about education. Right now, more than half of our third graders are not reading proficiently at grade level. What would be your plan for reversing that trend?
First off, we need to put more money into our classrooms. My budget is set up for $20 billion right off the getgo for our public school system. My program is set up to make sure that no teacher, no matter what grade level, receives a minimum of $60,000…because I believe it’s all in our teachers’ hands. I mean these teachers…some of them are actually putting money out of their own checks for supplies for their kids. That should never happen. My budget has $1.2 billion set off to the side out of that $20 billion for bringing two years of community college within the public school realm. That includes trade schools and vocational schools. The media school Specs Howard would be a perfect example of that. We need to bring them in. It gives our kids an extra step up before the universities. But at the same time, we also have $1 billion set off to the side for special ed classes for some of our children that are being left behind because of disabilities.
What’s your vision for health care in Michigan?
It’s the state’s responsibility in order to make health care affordable for the people of Michigan. The insurance industry as a whole, between auto insurance and health insurance, has been bleeding our families dry. My idea is to open up Medicaid and make it affordable and force these third-party insurance companies to literally compete with the state. People now are screaming about a single-payer system. It shouldn’t be up to the federal government to put a plan in place. It should be up to the states. The states have control over what’s going on within their state.
** According to the Michigan State Budget Office, the combined projected gasoline and diesel fuel tax revenue for FY 2019 is only about $1.45 billion.