Gretchen Whitmer: Her catchphrase on the campaign trail is “just fix the damn roads” by creating a “Rebuild Michigan Bank,” which could only be used for infrastructure improvements. It would be fueled by either user fees approved by the Legislature or a statewide bond issue approved by voters that would raise $3 billion a year for roads, bridges and water infrastructure improvements.
Abdul El-Sayed: Create a state “infrastructure bank,” where state dollars can be used for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water pipes. The bank would be fueled by a shift of money that is now given to corporations in tax incentives, bonds, a statewide property tax, and tax revenues from the sale of medical marijuana.
Shri Thanedar: Convert to a graduated income tax to raise about $1.8 billion a year; ask voters to approve a $1-billion statewide bond for road improvements, beginning in 2019; use half of the projected $125 million in revenues from taxes on legalized marijuana for roads with the other half going to education; seek private and federal funding for high-speed rail from Detroit to Ann Arbor and Traverse City and to widen.
Gretchen Whitmer: Wants to make sure that auto insurance rates are based on a person’s driving record and not criteria such as credit scores, ZIP code or gender. And she wants to increase transparency in the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fund, which pays lifetime benefits for people critically injured in car accidents.
Abdul El-Sayed: Remove health insurance coverage from auto insurance by passing single-payer health care and require that only driving-related issues, instead of credit scores and ZIP codes, be used when figuring insurance rates.
Shri Thanedar: Make sure insurance companies don’t use non-driving factors, such as ZIP codes, gender, credit scores or education levels, in setting rates. Would demand transparency from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association.
Gretchen Whitmer: Wants tougher gun laws, including universal background checks on gun purchases and a ban on assault-style weapons. Supports allowing only trained, uniformed officers to carry guns in schools and passing “red flag” legislation that would allow law enforcement to take away guns from people who have been deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.
Abdul El-Sayed: Push for tougher gun laws, including universal background checks on gun purchases and a ban on assault-style weapons. Don’t allow guns in schools, but add money for mental health services and counselors.
Shri Thanedar: Supports the Second Amendment and right to bear arms, but would push for tougher gun laws, including universal background checks on gun purchases, a ban on assault-style weapons, increased penalties for people who use illegal guns and prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Does not favor arming teachers.
Gretchen Whitmer: Voted against the tax as a state senator and would act to repeal it if she becomes governor.
Abdul El-Sayed: Would support repeal of the pension tax, with revenue replaced by expiring corporate tax credits, which were issued by previous administrations and must be cashed in by certain dates.
Shri Thanedar: Repeal the pension tax and replace it with a more progressive tax that would increase taxes on wealthy individuals.
Gretchen Whitmer: Supports legalization for adult recreational use.
Abdul El-Sayed: Supports legalization for adult recreational use.
Shri Thanedar: Supports legalization for adult recreational use.
Gretchen Whitmer: Helped negotiate the Medicaid expansion in the state Senate. Says she would protect people with pre-existing conditions and work to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Ultimately wants to ensure every Michigander has health care coverage. Opposes work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
Abdul El-Sayed: Opposes legislation that would require any Medicaid recipients to work. Wants a single-payer health care system that covers every Michigander.
Shri Thanedar: Supports Medicaid health care coverage for all and opposes legislation that would require most Medicaid recipients to work. Wants a single-payer health care system.
Enbridge Line 5
Gretchen Whitmer: As governor, she’d immediately file paperwork to end the easement and begin the legal process for shutting down Line 5.
Abdul El-Sayed: Supports immediate shutdown of the pipelines carrying oil across the Straits of Mackinac.
Shri Thanedar: Would shut down the pipeline immediately, based on Enbridge being in violation of its easement agreementfor missing anchor supports and other violations.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in April approved a permit allowing a 60 percent increase in the amount of groundwater the bottled water company can pump from wells on land it owns near Evart, in northern Michigan. One reason the permit is controversial is that Nestle pays only a nominal fee to pump the water.
Gretchen Whitmer: Would stop the company’s water withdrawals.
Abdul El-Sayed: Would stop the company’s water withdrawals.
Shri Thanedar: Would revoke the water withdrawal permit.
Expand Freedom of Information Act
Should the governor’s office and Legislature be subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act, which makes most government records open to public inspection?
Gretchen Whitmer: Supports expansion of FOIA to governor’s office and Legislature.
Abdul El-Sayed: Supports expansion of FOIA to governor’s office and Legislature.
Shri Thanedar: Supports expansion of FOIA to governor’s office and Legislature.
Michigan has consistently been ranked last or near last among the 50 states for laws related to government ethics and transparency. For example, candidates and top elected and appointed state officials are not required to disclose their personal financial holdings.
Gretchen Whitmer: Would require personal financial disclosures for candidates and senior appointees, who would be subject to new conflict of interest laws.
Abdul El-Sayed: Would require personal and family financial disclosures for all elected officials in state and local offices.
Shri Thanedar: Would require financial disclosure for Treasury officials investing public funds and any candidates running for state office.
State income tax
Gretchen Whitmer: Not proposing a state income tax cut. Wants to invest in talent, education and fixing roads.
Abdul El-Sayed: Favors a progressive income tax in which higher-income earners pay a higher rate.
Shri Thanedar: Supports a progressive income tax structure in which families making $50,000 or less would pay no state income tax and those earning more than $200,000 would pay a higher rate.
Gretchen Whitmer: Stop raids on the School Aid Fund that are diverting hundreds of millions of dollars annually from K-12 schools. Improve pay for teachers. Wants more literacy coaches and career navigators for high school students.
Abdul El-Sayed: Start school at age 3, not age 5. Increase funding and make it more equitable, investing in school buildings and teacher pay. End the charter school profit margin.
Shri Thanedar: Wants universal pre-kindergarten education, starting at age 3. Increase investment in K-12, including improved pay for teachers and more money for at-risk schools.
Gretchen Whitmer: Opposed, saying it would aggravate current problems with lawmakers not developing needed expertise and too much power in the hands of special interests.
Abdul El-Sayed: Opposed.
Shri Thanedar: Opposed.
Drinking water/Great Lakes
The lead contamination of drinking water in the City of Flint has recently been followed by news of another drinking water threat in Michigan — high levels of perfluoroalkyl and ployfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, once commonly used in fire-fighting foam and other commercial and industrial applications and which can be harmful to human health. What would each candidate do to protect drinking water and/or the Great Lakes?
Gretchen Whitmer: Says clean drinking water is a fundamental human right and she would create a Department of Great Lakes and Fresh Water. Her infrastructure plan would replace all lead drinking water lines in Michigan communities, with Flint completed first. Plan also would address other drinking water threats, such as PFAS.
Abdul El-Sayed: Would end water shutoffs and establish use-based water pricing that ensures all Michiganders gain ready access to the standard of water that they need to live, free of charge. Would use bonding and other revenue sources to improve water infrastructure, including replacement of lead service lines. There would be a surtax on people who use more water above and beyond basic needs.
Shri Thanedar: As part of a $1-billion bonded infrastructure improvement plan, he’d remove all lead service lines from municipal water systems statewide within a decade. Would hold corporations accountable to clean up chemical contamination left in soil, which eventually finds its way into drinking water.