Saturday, September 29, 2012

Confessions of a Former Lawmaker

I ran for the State Legislature in 2002 as a limited government conservative. I ended up being twice rated the most conservative lawmaker in Lansing. My overall voting record from a conservative standpoint, was around 95%. But, I made my mistakes.

In 2005, I, along with the entire Republican caucus, was swept into support for the "21st Century Jobs Fund." It was criticized by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as a government-run economic development program. It seemed a lot like corporate welfare to me, but hey, it was sponsored by a very conservative Republican lawmaker who, in fact has gone on to be a member of Congress with a pretty conservative voting record. The bill passed the house unanimously. (I wasn't the only one making the mistake.)

The Mackinac Center has just published a commentary on the 21st Century Jobs Fund, looking back at how well it worked. The commentary includes a radio "debate" that took place between the legislator who sponsored the bill and Mike LaFaive of the Mackinac Center. You can read the story and listen to the radio interview here.

Incidentally, I had a "second bite of the apple" when the 21st Century Jobs Fund bill came back from the Senate in a scaled-down form. Because it had been changed, the House had to vote to approve it. After rethinking the legislation, and getting some very good information from none other the the Mackinac Center, I was one of only thirteen lawmakers to vote NO on the bill.

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