The leader of the state senate often uses the word “challenge” in discussing the legislative session starting today.  Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter says he has put the disappointing implosion of the special legislative session of September and October behind him and is cautiously optimistic about the next four and a half months.

He hopes for some early successes in changing the human rights act and the whistleblower law to benefit business.  He’d like to revise the worker’s comp system, the occupational disease issue and the second injury fund.  

Mayer knows it’s going to be hard to balance the budget without a tax increase, but, “We’re not going to have a tax increase,” he says, “It’s going to be challenging to make the necessary reductions that have to be done to truly balance the budget.”

He says it’s also going to be a challenge to revise the school funding formula. But Mayer says the legislature has a responsibility to get that done.

He says tax credit reform is a “bit of a wild card.”  The Senate and the House strongly disagreed about that last year.  Mayer says he has not seen any interest in the aerotropolis, or China hub, issue that was a disaster in the special session. 

 AUDIO: Interview with Rob Mayer 7:18 mp3