Saturday, June 09, 2007

Presenting the "Not Ready for Next Week Players"

Wasn't this week next week? Or was that last week?

MIRS 6/8-

An agreement on the basic structure for a Single Business Tax (SBT) replacement could come as soon as early next week, and the legislation representing the form of the agreement could begin moving in the House next week as well.

Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, it was the week before this week. Making this past week next week.

Detroit News 6/1

Both sides and Granholm spokeswoman Boyd said they are near enough to reach an SBT agreement next week.

Freep 5/31

House Democrats and Senate Republicans have offered competing business tax plans. At the start of talks Wednesday, Granholm said the two sides were close, though she did not expect final votes to occur until next week.

Detroit News 5/30

House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, said the closed-door negotiations could lead to an accord in the next couple days that lawmakers could vote on next week.

Freep 5/30-

House Democratic leaders said an agreement on the business tax is possible this week, but action likely won't happen until next week.

Freep/WZZM 5/26

Still to be resolved is a new business tax to replace the expiring Single Business Tax. A bill with support from major business groups has passed the House and awaits Senate action, which could come next week.

Now remember, we are dealing with three separate major issues here: the '07 budget, the '08 budget, and the replacement for the SBT. There are quite a few things that need to be put off until next week. It gets confusing. So give them a break. They probably don't know what, exactly, they aren't taking care of at any given moment.

Granted, they did "fix" the '07 budget. That wasn't complete when they announced it Memorial Day weekend; more votes were expected this past week. Not sure if it got done or not. Something got signed, Republicans complained, so maybe it did.

We've moved on now, but let's briefly revisit what they said the week before last week on the agreement for '07.

Right after Memorial Day- Freep 5/30-

The House today approved two measures to dip into two large funds to plug more than half of an $800 million deficit this fiscal year. Both are expected to be passed by the Senate next week as part of a budget-balancing agreement struck last week.

Before Memorial Day- Peter Luke 5/26

Assuming completion of the package next week, the agreement meets deadlines for avoiding a $116-per-pupil cut to local schools, a 6-percent cut to hospitals and doctors who treat Medicaid patients and the layoff of more than two dozen Michigan State Police troopers.

AP/WOOD 5/26-

Other votes are expected next week. The Legislature adjourned for the Memorial Day weekend on Friday night.

And while they were busy not completing the budget for '07, they jumped forward to not completing the budget for '08. Bet that hurt some heads. Nobody was sure what to put off next.

Freep 5/26

The breakthrough came after months of often rancorous debate and set the stage for a showdown on a major income tax increase, possibly as early as next week, to address an even larger deficit in 2008 and beyond.

Rep. George Cushingberry, D-Detroit, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the Legislature's leading proponent of the income tax hike, said he thinks there is a 70% chance for a vote to raise taxes next week, and that it will have broad, bipartisan support.

And before the budget '07 deal, it was "maybe this week". This was apparently before they learned how to say "next week".

Freep 5/23

Dillon gave 50-50 odds that the House would vote on the tax increase this week, as he and fellow Democrats continued to woo Republicans, partly by showing a willingness to support new laws designed to rein in government costs.

Detroit News 5/23

House Democrats, meanwhile, said there's a good chance the House will vote this week on a tax increase to help erase $800 million in red ink this year and more than double that next year.

"We want an understanding with Bishop and the governor about what we're going to do," said House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township. "I think that's very possible this week."

Peter Luke 5/22

But before the House moves any tax bills this week, Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, said he needs a "commitment" on an overall budget agreement from Republicans who control the Senate and from Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

We could go back further, but let's not. You get the idea.

Back to next week. Which is now last week. We still have the MBT and budget '08 to procrastinate on.

Peter Luke 6/1

House Democrats said the tax votes could come next week. Granholm suggested the income tax rate could be brought back down once Michigan's economy improves and the unemployment rate falls to the national average.

Democrats gave themselves some breathing room in the Freep 5/31, budget '08 again, dealing with the aftermath of '07.

"You'll see us moving quickly in the next couple weeks to avoid this kind of thing in the future," Dillon said.

Andy's caught on. Now he's saying "two weeks", and then next week they can say "next week". Which, since that was two weeks ago, makes this coming week next week.

Bishop joins in the fun, this time it was with the MBT.

Detroit News 5/31

Both sides and Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said they are "very close" to a resolution which could come next week. But, Bishop added, "We've said that before; we keep saying next week, next week."

This was right after Mike made "next week" essential by presenting yet another change to the business tax plan when other lawmakers had already left town. Doh!

That maverick Mark Schauer apparently didn't get the "next week" memo- he kicked the can way down the road. From MIRS 6/7-

Senate Minority Leader Mark SCHAUER (D-Battle Creek) set July 1 as the new deadline for the Legislature to finish a business tax replacement and complete a Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget agreement."

We'll have to talk to him about that.

Next week.