Stephen Henderson talks with Jeffrey Stinson, editor of Stateline, a Pew Charitable Trust project that will analyze how state legislatures are working on several major themes. They talk about road funding, labor laws, the role of the Republican Party, and how Michigan measures up to other states.
- Michigan reflects nation: Stinson says the Michigan legislature reflects many other state legislatures. He gives roads, prevailing wages, and right-to-work legislation as examples of topics that many states are addressing or have addressed recently.
- National gridlock and state taxes: Stinson says one reason Michigan and other states have proposed new taxes for road repairs is because national road funds are going to run out soon, and political gridlock in DC means that this may not be resolved.
- Republican dominance: Stephen asks how Republican dominance in Michigan state politics affects the state. Stinson says that the Republican party holds more seats now in state governments than it has in the past 100 years, but because of ideological splits within the party it can still be difficult to pass legislation. He says that it can be particularly difficult for Republican legislators to raise taxes, because many of them are elected on an anti-tax platform.
Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.