Regarding the article and editorial in last week's Tri-City Times discussing Gary Howell's candidacy for the State House of Represent-atives and his leading the local efforts to collect 370,000 signatures for the purpose of placing a proposal for a part-time legislature on the Nov. 4th ballot, I wish him the best of luck in both endeavors.
Before the last election a petition was circulating to add a proposal reducing the number of legislators in our state on that year's ballot. Unfortunately the proposal didn't make to the ballot.
I would be happy to sign Gary's or anyone else's petitions to reduce spending in our overtaxed state. However, my preference is to reduce the number of legislators, and I think we can do it. California has a population of 34 million and gets by with only 120 legislators. Michigan had a population of 10 million in 2000. We have lost a lot of people and jobs since then but we still have 148 legislators. (That's 28 more on the payroll with less than one third of the population.) Currently our legislators have on average 7.8 staffers to assist them. If we eliminate 50 legislators we also eliminate 390 staffers from the payroll. One of the things I learned working in the private sector for 40 years is the larger the committee you have the less effective it is. There are too many directions for each to point the finger of blame when they fail. The smaller the legislature the easier to hold them accountable.
I do feel we need a full time legislature. They will need to devote 100% of their time and attention to getting this state out of this recession. Requiring someone to hold a job in Lansing as well as one at home leaves little time for family life. This is asking quite a lot.
Sometimes I get the feeling we are working for the people in Lansing instead of them working for us.