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Schuette: ‘There’s No Discrimination Of Anybody’ In His Michigan

October 2, 2018

If elected, Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette said Michigan will have a policy in which there’s no “discrimination of anybody whether it’s on race, color, creed, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, you name it.” 

In announcing support from a number of business organizations in Lansing Wednesday, Schuette was asked by MIRS whether expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act would make Michigan a more attractive place for talent. 

The question comes after Founders Brewery and other west Michigan businesses pulled out of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce for endorsing Schuette, who as Attorney General opined that the Civil Rights Commission doesn’t have the authority to extend civil rights protections to the LGBT community absent legislative action. (Note: Founders later said it wasn’t pulling out of the Chamber and that an employee had made the tweet without ownership approval.)

Schuette said regardless of the subject manner, eight unelected appointees do not have the power to change state law. Only the Legislature with the signature of the governor can do that. 

However, Schuette said this opinion has been “misinterpreted.” 

“Michigan needs to be a state that is welcoming to everybody. It has a hopeful policy of employment and opportunity, a diverse culture. That’s what Michigan is all about . . . 

“My mom . . . taught me some basic values: That you treat people with dignity, grace and respect. And you treat people like members of the family. 

“When I’m governor and Lisa Posthumus is the lieutenant governor, we represent all of the state of Michigan. It doesn’t mean you’re always going to agree, but I will honor the differences people have on a variety of different issues. 

“With respect to Elliott-Larsen and discrimination, we will have a policy that Michigan has to be a place that is free of discrimination. These job provider organizations understand that and that’s the type of Michigan we’ll have in the future. Period.” 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer is supportive of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Law to include the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. 

Schuette made the statements at a press conference held at the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA), where outside Ingham County Commissioner Ryan Sebolt and a couple dozen others were protesting. 

“If we’re trying to create a pro-business climate in Michigan, you can’t do that with pro-discrimination candidates. It’s 2018. We know that discrimination has no place,” Sebolt said. “You see in other states like North Carolina and Indiana, where they had a pro-discrimination agenda, where LGBT folks were not covered and they lost a lot of business because of it. Michigan businesses can’t afford to suffer the same fate.” 

Inside the MRA, Schuette was praised by officials from the Business Leaders of Michigan, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), NRA, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Michigan Retailers Association, the Michigan Realtors Association and the Michigan Farm Bureau. 

Schuette called this group his “Paycheck Coalition.” 

The common theme was that the current Republican-led administration has created a business-friendly climate that they believe Schuette is most likely to continue. 

“The current environment is really good for small business. Our sails are full of wind and I don’t think it’s an accident that that is happening in Michigan and I’m fearful that we’re going to forget how we got here,” said SBAM Executive Director Rob Fowler. 

“In 2010, we were a state that was unfriendly and expensive to do business in. Today, we are friendly and being friendly is important in part of the strategy of growing an economy.” 

Fixing The ‘Damn Roads’ Means Raising ‘Your Darn Taxes’ 
In addressing another question, Schuette said Wednesday that “When Gretchen Whitmer and Garlin Gilchrist talk about fixing the roads, they’re really saying, ‘We’re going to raise your darn taxes.’ That’s what is going on.” 

Schuette supported a gas tax increase during the Gov. John Engler administration and several business groups continue to support raising the gas tax by a greater amount to better take care of the state’s roads. 

However, Schuette was partial to digging into Michigan’s $58 billion for additional revenue as opposed to raising gas taxes further. 

“Every aspect of government is going to have to give a little bit and that’s a better approach, in my opinion,” Schuette said. 

As to where in the state’s $10 billion General Fund budget he would find significant money to pay for the roads while lowering the income tax to 3.9 percent (another $1 billion expense) and reinstating the income tax exemption on pension income (a $350 million cost annually to the state), Schuette said, “Lisa and I are going to sit down and look at our budget with a fresh start and have policies that continuously drive our state forward, continuously have more growth and more jobs. 

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