Sunday, December 03, 2006

A week's worth of blogging in one post:

I put stories that catch my eye in the Favorites list and then I either blog them, move them to a permanent folder where they usually become irrelevant, or I toss them. Here are some of the things I meant to blog about this week, but I just haven't had the time or the inclination, one of the two.

  • The GR Press likes the MBT, but thinks it needs "amending". Sounds a lot like the Detroit News, surprise, surprise, but what was best about the editorial was this-

    The sooner it's acted upon, the better. Whether the changes and compromises can be pulled together this month is hard to say, but the Legislature should make the effort. Michigan's economy is bad and isn't helped by having a black hole where the Single Business Tax (SBT) used to be -- making investors and employers guess about what taxes they would have to pay and how much.

    Someone needs to get that memo to our legislators who are still hemming and hawing and dragging their feet. Case in point, once again this week Michael Sak said-

    "I would lean toward not moving this forward in lame duck," said State Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids.

    "I'm not sure why we have to move something forward in a couple of weeks that has been brewing for years."

    Mike's a real team player, ain't he? Sorry- I know he has done some good things, but he just bugs me- and why his attitude bugs me comes from that same story-

    Birgit Klohs, who heads The Right Place Inc., a West Michigan economic development firm, said she's just happy to see some movement on a replacement business tax.

    "We need to move on," she said. "You can't just eliminate it and then wait until the last minute and say, 'Here's something new.'

    "When we're talking to people looking at coming to Grand Rapids, you can't tell them what their tax picture will look like in a year and a half. It makes us completely uncompetitive."

    Get to it, kids. The Muskegon Chronicle agrees. So does the Saginaw News. Peter Luke seems to think it would be OK to wait, but I don't think he takes into account all the new clueless faces coming in. Strong column, though, on what needs to be done and the difficulties we are going to face.

  • We might need Stryker to fund a ballot proposal. The Michigan Senate refused to lift restrictions on stem cell research- and I believe they will hold it hostage next year, too. The Republicans are still under control of the extreme right, obviously.

    The state Senate approved bills Thursday designed to encourage the creation of a network of stem cell banks for umbilical cords and adult stem cells, but Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to also lift restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in Michigan.


    Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, tried to tie the legislation to Democratic legislation that would allow more embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. She criticized Republicans who, along with Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference, are opposed because it would allow human embryos to be destroyed to harvest their stem cells.

    "It's OK to throw in-vitro embryos in the garbage, it's just not OK to do research on those embryos?" Whitmer said, arguing that embryos are left over from fertility treatments and would be disposed of anyway.

    Had enough yet?

  • Looks like they really could make those changes to the welfare bill in a heartbeat. Remember last summer when this was stalled because someone needed to make a commercial? (BTW, I will never eat at the Red Geranium again)

    Republican lawmakers on Thursday again voted to limit welfare recipients to four years of cash assistance, but it was unclear whether Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm would support the measure.

    The GOP-controlled state House voted 61-41 to pass a four-year lifetime welfare limit. The limit wouldn't apply to the disabled, the mentally ill and others who meet certain guidelines.


    Under the new bill, recipients could apply for a fifth year of cash assistance if they haven't been sanctioned and the job market is down.

    Republicans said they changed the bill to exempt more adults from the four-year limit and from a state program that seeks to find jobs for welfare recipients, including those with learning disabilities, certain physical limitations and chronic mental health problems.

    It also would temporarily freeze the four-year limit for mothers with children under age 3 and recipients on short-term disability or living in counties with an unemployment rate above 9 percent.

    I'm not sure if these are the exceptions Granholm was looking for, but I was amazed at the speed this came about.

  • Don't look now, but New Berlin, Wisconsin might have found a way to get that Lake Michigan water after all. When is a diversion not a diversion? I don't know, but we better get those rules down before everyone sticks a straw in. Word today comes that Lake Superior water levels are down, Nestle wants more from the ground, and we better get this all straight before we feel the need to let the Coast Guard practice with live ammunition or something.

  • OK, time to give Michael Sak a break. (Just for a second though) He managed to get bill that requests proper ID on fatal accident victims through the House. You wouldn't think that this would be such a big deal, but this has happened twice in our area in the past few years- mix ups on identification that have put some families through a lot of pain. Hope it doesn't happen again.

  • A park at a former nuclear site? Um, no thanks.

  • And finally, yes, Charlie Brown, it's a Christmas tree. I'm agnostic, and even I don't care about this, except that they wasted my tax money on the debate when they could have been doing other things. But what else is new?