tv [untitled] February 1, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm EST
october of last
year on that topic to our state. in roads and bridges, for example, i said we needed $1.4 billion more a year in investment in our state. and that's an important component. again, the issue is, is how do we partner on doing that? i would like to compliment secretary lahood for his efforts in the state of michigan. he has been very proactive and good talking about developing a regional transit authority in southeastern michigan that we're now asking state legislation to move forward on that. because detroit and metro detroit has been lacking in that for decades. so there's an opportunity to partner on that. what i would also say is, again, i would make the approach that there are better ways to do things than we currently do things with the prescriptive measures that you can find in some of the highway bills, though. compared to giving us more flexibility. we still have multiple situations where we may be making a great investment in a rest stop that we don't really need as opposed to a bridge. and the ability to have flexibility in making those decisions would be helpful to
>> let me comment. recently, a community in our state, stamford, happens to be my hometown, received a tiger grant in the approximate amount. that federal government support will be matched 5 to 1 by the private sector. i will also tell you that connecticut is spending more of its own dollars in rebuilding its train system on a matching basis than any other state in the nation. i'm quite certain that if you send infrastructure investment dollars to the states, we are capable of putting thousands of construction workers and private contractors back to work. >> the gentleman's time has expired. dr. buschon. >> thank you, mr. chairman. governor snyder, thanks for being here. same to governor malloy. the state legislature in indiana has recently -- this is a state
issue -- taken up right to work which is a controversial subject as you know. governor snyder, are there any discussions in your state which is neighbors to mine concerning this type of action at the state level? >> it is under discussion. there are a number of legislators that are promoting th that. and my perspective is, i've made it clear it's not on my agenda. right to work is an issue that's a very devicive issue people feel very strongly about. as mr. walberg mentioned i'm the relentless positive action person. we have many problems in michigan that are much more pressing that i want to find common ground issues we can work together on before we get into divisive issues. and we're showing great success. we're balancing the budget. we showed tax reform. important items this year i would prioritize include the transportation package i mentioned abtd infrastructure. we have a package on public safety. we need to do a better job on that area in our state. so right to work is an issue
that may have its time and place, but i don't believe it's appropriate in michigan during 2012. >> because we've had to deal with that issue, as you probably know, on this committee as it relates to south carolina. and do you think that -- i don't want to put you on the hot seat. but do you think there's evidence out there to show that it creates -- that it helps states compete not only with other states within the united states, but compete globally for -- for businesses? do you think the right to work type situation is helpful? >> i think there's a lot of information out there, and one of the things i'm interested in is trying to understand what's factual information and what's kind of perception. because in many respects, i would use some of the success in michigan as an example. the auto industry is a very competitive industry now in terms of their labor agreements and such. on the face of it, i don't automatically have an answer. but i believe it's something that we should all take the time
to understand before simply people kind of revert to their traditional positions on it. >> thank you. i just want to make a final closing comment, then thanks for your answer. you know, we hear a lot about the united states comparing ourselves with other parts of the world. and i've just -- at this point comparing what we do here to europe is probably not something i'd recommend. because even though i do have business leaders also telling me that infrastructure is -- is better in other parts of the world, their financial situation is dire, as you know. and in china, comparing ourselves to china in a lot of areas, realize that they're rebuilding their country on the american taxpayers. right now, we're paying tremendous amounts of interest on our debt to china. and they're using that money to rebuild their infrastructure. so i think until we can honestly address our mandatory spending
programs in this country and to have an honest discussion about what the direction this needs to -- country needs to go in financially, we're going to continue to find that we struggle to find money for things that all of us agree that we need to spend money on, including our infrastructure. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. mr. scott? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank both of our governors for being with us today. governor n eor snyder, you ment 70,000 job openings in michigan. have you reviewed these openings to ascertain whether your workforce has the educational or other qualifications for these jobs or whether investments need to be made in education so that people -- so there'll be a match between the workforce and the job openings? >> yeah. the 70,000 open jobs, i would emphasize to you, and i encourage you to go look. most of these are good jobs.
you're talking, like, nurses. computer programming. accountants. these are well paying jobs. and the skills trade one i always talk about is welder. if you're a welder in michigan you can get a job in about 20 minutes in any corner of michigan. there are a couple aspects. one is, this is the missing element from workforce development. that's why i call it talent and connecting. is we launched mitalent.org to make that connection. there's a mismatch of where people may be and where those jobs are that people simply weren't aware of them. the second thing is, the site is just not about transactions. which is just finding a job. it's about career planning. and to go to your point about saying if we have employers signing up to participate in this program that they see there's a lot of demand and we're not seeing those filled, we should be working with our community colleges, in particular our skilled trade unions, other programs to say how can we get an alignment to get those people the proper training so they can succeed? >> governor? >> i just would like to comment on that. clearly for a long period of time in our country, we failed
to properly train a replacement workforce, particularly as some of our states are rapidly ageing. and anything we can do to support our community colleges in particular, which have the fastest turnaround as well as the ability to offer certification programs, would be greatly appreciated. >> well, are we finding that employers can't find people qualified for the job openings? >> i think in precision manufacturing, and i think the governor would agree, that is a particular problem. unfortunately, too few of our schools became invested in training that replacement workforce. >> and so investments -- what i'm hearing is investments in community colleges to make sure that our workforce can qualify for the job openings would be an important aspect of -- of this committee's work? >> i believe that's true as well as support of vocational programs in our high school level as well. >> yeah. one thing i would add is, i
would also encourage you to look at two programs we have in michigan. one is called shifting gears. the new version is called shifting code. so these are for very experienced workers that were in large companies, for example. shifting gears was geared for people that were middle level and higher in terms of professional managerial technical and large companies. our goal is to encourage entrepreneurship. so we created this program. it's been very successful. to say you can't ask someone from a large company to go join a start-up overnight and have a chance to succeed. so it's almost cultural adjustment training. because they have all the skills they need to be successful ain being entrepreneurs or parts of companie companies. we've done that with shifting gears. it's gone so well we're creating one called shifting code. there are computer programming jobs available. this would work well for people that are my age, very experienced people, and to get them successful in a new career. >> a couple years ago we had the recovery act that gave a lot of
money to states. the only way the state can balance its budget is essentially to fire people or stop on projects so somebody else can fire people. can you say a word about how much money each of your states got and what would have happened to your state budget had you not gotten paid under the recovery act? >> well, in my case, the monies that flowed to the state did, in fact, replace state -- state funds. obviously, and i would argue that my argument and the state of connecticut did too little to respond beyond using those funds. having said that, there is no doubt that we would have fewer teachers in our school system today if we had not received those funds. and that we would have continued a process long under way in connecticut of shifting the burden to local communities, who rely almost exclusively in our state on property taxes to survive.
it's one of the reasons that balancing a $3.5 billion deficit, which was structural in nature, because all of the surplus funds from past years were being used as well as hour money was being used to displace state expenditures that i had to take a different kind of approach to balancing that budget. >> what i would say, unfortunately in my view too much of those dollars were used for replacement dollars for operating government. as a practical matter we faced $1.5 billion deficit when i came because they weren't there and we cut the deficit. what i would have preferred to have seen is those dollars could have gone to infrastructure or other investment to treat as one-time funds -- >> would you have had to cut your budget more than you cut your budget had you not had those funds? is that right? >> again, if you look back at the prior few years, though, i view as a foregone opportunity. >> gentleman's time has expired. mrs. rogen. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. thank you to both of the governors for being here today.
we appreciate your time. we know it's valuable. governor snyder, i just want to talk to you a little bit about medicaid. kind of switching gears to health care. and as we know, the new health care law specifically expands medicaid and it's going to put a real financial burden not just on the federal government but, of course, on the states as well. it's significantly underfunded and many of us are concerned that states cannot afford to devote these scarce resources to their medicare programs. i'm just curious if you can comment on any particular consequences that you see this current health care law having in michigan from your perspective in state government. and how are we going to pay for these increased costs, not just on the federal level, but how are the states going to be able to handle this and have you talked to your other colleagues, governors, other governors as well, about medicaid expansion and the impact that that's not
just going to have on your state, but all across the country? with that i'll listen to your answer. >> i appreciate that question. two dimensions in particular. i did a special message on health and wellness last september because it is critically important. one, it's critically important to the quality of life of our citizens. but it's a huge societal cost. what it's doing to our budget situation in terms of the growth of health care cost. there are things that i don't believe have been addressed enough why it's been a focus on other issues in medicare and medicaid. in particular, the dual eligible situation. one where if people were working better together, there's an opportunity to hopefully provide better care at a much lower cost. if we had more flexibility or partnered better with the federal government. the simplest thing i say on health and wellness, though, that people often overlook is just personal responsibility in wellness. i launched a program called four by four. to be blunt, i signed up to lose ten pounds. i gave all my statistics out that they wanted on blood pressure and cholesterol. if you ever want to see your blood pressure during the middle
of a press conference, it does go up. the point was really if you looked at it in the state of michigan, we have a dash board where we show 32% of our population is obese. if we brought that down, if we dealt with obesity and overweight and did basic things on health and wellness that we have personal responsibility for, we could probably cut our health care costs in this country by half. so a lot of this should be us focusing on doing things that we can all do together and playing a coordinating clearinghouse role, leadership role, and not a spending role. >> from the state budgetary process of where you are, knowing that this is the current law of the land, what direction are you heading in preparing for the impact that these increased costs are going to have despite the -- the, you know, broad brush strokes of what we know, personal responsibility, but there are specifics that can be done as well. i'm just curious. i'm from the state of alabama, and this is a huge concern for
us, for our governor and our state legislature as they move into this next session about the negative impact that this is going to have on our state budgets. >> yeah, it is a major question. because, again, it gets back to the concept of unfunded mandates. i hear that from our local governments all the time. so it's that food chain question. and we are struggling with that. because it's like you have to make choices. and we have to be fiscally responsible for the long term. because that's really the question. and to help deal with that we've done a lot of reforms to essentially deal with our long-term liabilities like post-retiree medical and other costs. again, this will just make it more difficult for us to operate. >> let me -- >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentle lady yield back. ms. mccarthy? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for having this hearing. i think it's been very interesting hearing from the both governors. you certainly agree on an awful lot of things, and the way that you both have been working through your state to get your people back to work and looking at different initiatives is, to
be very honest with you, that's the initiative that we need to see here. and i hope that as we go into this new year, that congress can work together to get things done for the country, not for political parties. i think both of you are perfect examples of that. governor snyder, i think one of the things you brought on constantly was to have flexibility to work between your state and the federal government, which is important. and i know that, you know, we've been hearing an awful lot on some of the resources that we gave out to try to bring this recession back has been working. so i guess my first question to you is on the flexibility point. do you believe that the federal government, the intervention in the auto sector, infringed on this principle? the principle meaning about flexibility and working together in the partnerships. the decision is widely
recognized as a success. and one that did save thousands of jobs. would you characterize this particular program as a success? >> yeah. with respect to the auto question, which is critically important in michigan. because we are it sha-- i'm pro say we are the auto capital of the world. if you looked at it in terms of perspective, what i have said and what i believe is if it would have involved one individual company, it wouldn't have been appropriate because that's what bankruptcy processes are for. this was a situation that merited additional involvement and attention because it wasn't about two companies. those two companies would have brought down the entire industry. i'm not sure ford would have survived if the supply base would have collapsed. so it was a broader issue. then you get into the specifics of how it was done. and what i would say is, is one choice was taken. there were other choices that were viable. and i don't see any value from my perspective of trying to
second-guess or quarterback after the fact on those. it was important something was done and that our industry is viable now. and so that was a success in that regard. >> i agree. listen, you know, this particular recession, i think, caught everybody way offguard. some were looking at solutions that were done in the 1930s. that's not the world we live in today. there's a global economy out there so we have to work together. the other thing both of you have stressed is education. that's why many of us sit on this particular committee. the future. you talked about the different initiatives that the educational needs and especially for those that are out of work. i spend a lot of time with my schools in which parents think it's not good to send their kids to a vocational school. when i went and visited them and saw the jobs they are training
for mainly because they are partnershipped with the businesses in the area, where are the jobs going to be in three years, four years, five years, that is something i think that we need to see a lot more done with that. but i also -- reading the testimony, governor, i saw that you had said that consolidating programs or cut funding for programs simply to meet a deficit reduction target, consolidation of programs may allow states more flexibility to employ resources to meet the needs of our workforce but not if you cut overall funding. and i think that's important. especially as we're seeing the states right now cutting back on education, making decisions on whether they're even going to cut back on school time. which this is not the time to do it. if you could address that, i would appreciate it. >> well, as someone who's served in different governmental capacities for a number of years, and frequently had to interface with the federal government, i came to understand that the combining of programs
normally was attached to the reduction of funds flowing for the stated purpose. if you're combining programs to create synergies and there's a desire to maintain the funding, i'm sure we can spend the money very effectively in our states to put people back to work. but if we're combining programs simply to cut money out of those programs, i can assure you, we need that money. i would also like to tell you that in connecticut, we call if president's effort around the auto industry obamacar. and i want to comment that i think it was a strajic investment, that it had implications even in our own state. the support of manufacturing in the united states is terribly important and i absolutely agree with the governor that the assistance given to that industry reverberates in all of the states where there's precision manufacturing currently taking place. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> thank you. >> mrs. fox? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank both of the
governors for being here today also. and i want to pick up on something that my colleague, ms. mccarthy, brought up a minute ago. i had also highlighted that comment in governor malloy's presentation where he said, don't consolidate programs or cut funding for programs simply to meet a deficit. if you or someone on your staff will read carefully the -- the wea bill which we have prepared, it shows very clearly that we don't intend to cut any funding. however, we intend to get a lot more value for what is being spent. and i think it's really important that we point that out. because there is no intention to cut the funding there. i will, though, also point out that federal dollars are not manna from heaven. they are taxpayer dollars which
are simply brought to the federal government. a lot of them wasted. and then some of them sent back to the states. i believe that in most cases, the money could be spent much more effectively if they were simply going to the states to begin with. but, anyway, let me -- let me, again, thank you all for being here. and i want to say particularly to governor snyder, i appreciate the very positive comments you made about the new wea bill which has been introduced and which we hope will move forward in this session. i want to point out in the summary that i have about the bill that it mentions, allows governors, empowers governors. all throughout that bill we do a lot to give much more authority to the states. we allow competitive grants, consultation with the governors.
throughout, again, we've changed, i think, the entire perspective of how we would operate these programs. and i appreciate the fact that you've talked about talent development or creating talent. because i rail against using the term "job training." and training individuals because my colleagues have heard me say often, you train dogs and you educate people. and i like the idea of talent. and i think that's a good word we need to try to put into the bill somewhere if we can along with the term workforce development. i like that perspective. and i would say to you, we need a lot more accountants and more people who want accountability and results and bring a fresh perspective to this issue. i would like to ask each of you, and i know you're not prepared to answer this question today, but i was in the state senate in
north carolina for ten years. and one of the things that the republicans proposed over and over was the consolidation of all of these workforce programs so that we could save money at the state level in administrative costs. and particularly governor malloy, i'd like to get some feedback from you, when you go back to connecticut, and from governor snyder also, on how much money could you save at the state level with this consolidation? and what efforts would you see the state being able to promote that you're not able to promote now under the existing structure? because i -- i want us to start this consultation with the governors right now. please, give us your feedback. the state of north carolina would have saved a lot of money,
even ten years ago, when we talked about this. and so i'd like to ask you, would you, governor malloy -- >> sure. >> -- send that information back? governor snyder? >> sure. i'm sure my staff behind me as already made a note of your request and we certainly will attempt to do that. let me be very clear. i believe in consolidation. as governor of the state of connecticut in my first budget i proposed the consolidation of 30 separate state agencies. actually doing that by over a third. and in this budget that i'm presenting on february 8th, we do it again. and i want to be very clear, consolidation for the purposes of identifying funds to attack problems that exist and to do away with duplicate requirements is something that i absolutely support. having said that with respect to the wea program, we have used that program very effectively in a number of different ways around job funneling, job training and talent acquisition.
so i look forward to working with the congress of the united states on that very point. i think we can, in fact, do that. i'm not against flexibility, but i have to share my experiences garnered over a 25-year period of time. frequently when i've seen the federal government combine programs, it has led to reductions in monies available to apply to local issues where i served for 14 years as a mayor of stamford, and now i fear on a statewide basis in state government. >> mr. chairman, i'd just like to say to governor snyder, thank you for highlighting the fact that there's 70,000 open jobs. because i think that's the case all over this country. and more needs to be said about that to show that we need to match talent. and we need to educate people as to where the jobs are. and i think -- i hope you will continue to do that. >> the je lady's time has expired. i know governor snyder was itching to comment. i'm sure you'll get a chance
coming up here. ms. woolsy, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to both of our governors. i'm sorry i left. the science committee has just -- the republicans have just disallowed abc, hbo and an independent news network from covering the fraking hearing. so as a member of that subcommittee, it was important to go up and try to turn that around. we did not prevail. so i'm sorry. i missed your testimony. so governor snyder, michigan, thank you for having a successful independent state osha. because so does california, and i think our osha program is steps ahead of the federal program and the feds continue to learn from these state programs.
i understand that while i was gone, that's why i told you why i was gone, chairman walberg, i'm the ranking member on his subcommittee of workforce protection, mentioned that there's an overlay of federal regulations over state regulations. and i don't know if he specifically referred to osha. but just recently, he's said that he was in his district. he visited one of his companies who had just been visited by the state osha program. and right behind that, the fed's osha came. well, we've done an investigation. i mean, we've tried to find out what company that was and why they were there, because that would not be appropriate. have you looked into that at the state level? why would that happen? why would we be wasting money in that regard? do you know anymore about it than i do sitting right here
today? >> no. not that particular situation. >> well, okay. i think it's worth looking into. we've asked over and over for the chairman to -- to tell us what the company was. and so we can figure out how that all happened. so i think that would be an example of great waste of funds. and of the wrong use of federal regulators. so -- but thank you for responding. governor malloy, you in connecticut are on the cutting edge in so many ways. and you have a progressive work life -- you have progressive work life policies and a new law that requires businesses to pay sick leave when employees can't work due to illness. i'd like to hear straight from you if -- if the state economy has been compromised or if the
state economy and health care system have benefited in regard to this sick leave policy? i mean, have you lost jobs? >> no. since the passage and ultimately the enactment of that law, we have actually gained jobs and lowered our unemployment rate in the state of connecticut. it is a special program. it takes a period of time for employees to earn the right to paid sick time. but let me be very clear. we did it not as a matter of convenience, but we made the ultimate decision that having people who prepare your food come to work sick doesn't make any sense. people who care for your parents or grandparents in a nursing homecoming to work sick doesn't make any sense. and people caring for our children in day care programs coming to work sick does not make any sense. ultimately, we decided that we