A 2010 millage increase for roads was defeated in Speaker Cotter’s home county of Isabella. Perhaps this defeat helped the top legislator in the Michigan House understand the perspectives of Michigan citizens.
In his home district, a majority of constituents believe roads can be fixed without a tax increase.
This bit of history was mentioned in an article in the September 6 edition of the Detroit Free Press. Also mentioned in the same article is a point that should not be overlooked by conservatives. That point – in 2014 conservative Republicans increased their majority in the House. The increase in conservative House members tipped the balance, thus providing the votes necessary to elect Kevin Cotter (R) as Speaker of the House.
The race for Speaker had two candidates, Cotter and Al Pscholka (R). While Cotter may not be a staunch conservative, it is clear that he was the preferred choice. Pscholka was the establishment favorite. Had Mr. Pscholka been elected Speaker the citizens of Michigan would have already been saddled with a huge tax increase to fund road repair. Yes, the Speaker of the House wields that much power!
This battle over road funding once again illustrates the need to have a conservative in the key leadership position of House Speaker. The only way to continue this is by electing more conservative State Representatives in the next election.
Free Press excerpt
Cotter, who was elected speaker last December after conservative Republicans increased their majority in the state House, may have been wildly unrealistic when he proposed earlier this year to address a road funding shortfall that exceeds $1.2 billion annually without raising anyone’s taxes.
But he also may have been accurately reflecting his constituents’ long-standing skepticism about the need for new revenue.
In 2010 — the year Cotter was first elected to the House from the 98th (which voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 and splits almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans in most statewide elections) — Isabella County voters took up a proposed tax increase that would have raised an additional 2 mills for county road maintenance.
Unlike the statewide ballot measure roundly criticized for its complexity, the proposed millage hike was simple and straightforward: Every additional tax dollar it raised would be dedicated exclusively to the improvement of Isabella’s crumbling roads and bridges. Even so, voters narrowly rejected it, a reality not lost on Cotter and other local office-seekers.