FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Michigan House of Representatives Democrats have unveiled what they say they learned on the 'listening tour' on which they embarked earlier this year.
Democrats' Middle-Class Plan provides ideas to roll back taxes, fund education, improve health care and fix the roads. Not surprisingly, many of the ideas run counter to what Democrats say Republicans and Gov. Rick Snyder have done over the last two years.
And Democrats say it's not only a plan -- it will become legislation. But where it goes from there is much less certain.
Democratic Representatives Colleen Lamonte of Montague and Brandon Dillon of Grand Rapids talked about the plan Tuesday morning in Fruitport Township, part of the district Lamonte represents. She talked about how the process started.
"We went on our listening tour because we've seen firsthand how Lansing Republicans are attacking middle-class families and the working poor,' said Lamonte.
Dillon says all the ideas in the plan will be introduced as legislation on the House floor, where the reception by the Republican majority may be less than welcoming. Many of the ideas being forwarded here are things Democrats have complained about since Snyder has been in charge.
Still, Lamonte said, the plan includes ideas of the people, not the party.
"Having majority comes with great responsibility, and I hope that they're actually going to listen to the people of the state," said Lamonte of House Republicans. "This did not come from us. This came from what we heard from people across the state."
Then there is the matter of cost, which has been estimated by some to be more than a $1 billion.
"We will show how we pay for every single part of this Middle-Class Plan without raising taxes one penny," said Dillon.
The man who oversees the purse strings in the House, Appropriations Chairman Joe Haveman (R-Holland), says he wants to see the math.
"Until you have the details as to where that money is going to come from, you know, let's see the details first. We'd all like to have more money in the state coffers so we could do more for the general public, but taking that away from the private sector to feed government maybe isn't the right solutions," said Haveman.
Some of those answers may come when Democrats lay out their budget next week.
There are some aspects of the Democrats' plan that may find some agreement with Republicans, like education and certainly the roads. But the devil is always in the details, like how to pay for the plan.
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