Governors 'Not Waiting' for Dysfunctional Congress to Fix Nation's Problems

Image: Governors 'Not Waiting' for Dysfunctional Congress to Fix Nation's Problems From left: Govs. Rick Snyder, Pat McCrory and Terry Branstad

Saturday, 22 Feb 2014 07:58 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The nation's governors are squaring off against a dysfunctional Washington — implementing their own programs to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, lower property taxes, and improve education.

"We're not waiting," Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder told The Wall Street Journal at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. "It would really be great for them to solve the mess here, but in the meantime we're going to do what we can."

Snyder cited a program begun last year in Michigan to reduce unemployment in some of the state's hardest-hit areas, the Journal reports. The effort is a public-private partnership that has exceeded its goal of placing 1,000 workers, he said.

In another public-private venture, Michigan has created a $5 million program to provide loans to small businesses in the state, with a pilot program beginning in Detroit.

Governors told the Journal that Washington's preoccupation with the November congressional elections have prevented officials from acting decisively on issues critical to the states.

"There's no long-term infrastructure plan coming out of D.C. — none," said GOP Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina.

The governor praised legislation he lobbied through last year to give priority to transportation projects that helped the economy — highways that connect urban centers and relieve congestion, for instance.

It is part of the state's 25-year plan that will focus on addressing the state's various transportation needs, involving roads, rail, ports, and airports.

McCrory told the Journal that the bill he sponsored stemmed from Washington's inability to revise the formula that allocates transportation funding based on federal gas-tax revenues, the Journal reports.

States have not been able to lobby Congress for new highway revenues — cars are now more fuel efficient and construction costs for new project have risen greatly — and officials cannot plan long-term transportation projects.

And in Iowa, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has bipartisan support on legislation to cut property taxes and reform the state's education system.

"We're not waiting for D.C.," Branstad told the Journal. "We're forging ahead."

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