Senator Jacobs, under her constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill Nos. 2 and 340 and moved that the statement she made during the discussion of Senate Bill No. 2 be printed as her reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Jacobs’ statement is as follows:
Let me just say at the outset that I think the idea of having a small business ombudsman is a great idea. It is important to have an individual or team of individuals who can address business issues and mediate solutions that help both businesses and state agencies move forward in a coordinated fashion. That is why I am fully supportive of the Michigan business ombudsman created as a part of Michigan Business One-Stop program that Governor Granholm unveiled last month.
However, I cannot support the bills before us today because they are duplicative of the work this ombudsman is already doing. During committee testimony, a representative from the MEDC said that the bills read like a job description of what the current ombudsman is doing. If there is some feeling the current ombudsman is not doing his or her job, let’s go in and fix that, but we don’t have to create a duplicate bill to do it.
Now I am also concerned about the cost of these bills, which the Senate Fiscal Agency estimates will range between one-half million dollars to $1 million annually. At a time when the Senate is approving budgets that slash vital programs to the most vulnerable and needy citizens of our state, there is no need for us to spend additional funds on a new program when one already exists. That is exactly what these bills are doing.
I ask my colleagues to vote against these bills.