LANSING, MICH. -- On Wednesday, when the new Speaker of the Michigan House James Bolger (R-Marshall), gaveled the  96th session of the House to order, he used his opening address to call for the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax (MBT), a 48-month cap on welfare benefits and the completion of a two-year budget by June 1. The Republican leader's remarks broke from the platitudes and vows of cooperation that have come from opening House session speeches in recent years. Republicans control the chamber 63-47. Bolger also focused his remarks on removing barriers to things that create jobs, including reforming regulations and cutting the 'red tape.'   The bottom line, according to the new Speaker, is that spending, tax and regulatory reform will dominate the 96th Legislature.

182 Days

One a related note, the Snyder Administration is giving itself 182 days (or to July 1), days to enact a budget, change business taxes and do other reforms. The governor does not support sales taxes on services but will look at how tax incentives are used.