Monday, July 30, 2007

Senate Republican SOD - Mike Bishop plays dumb

(this drew a lot of comments at BFM so I thought I would crosspost to hit the Blogwire again- just in case people missed it over the weekend)

Mike Bishop made a surprising statement on July 22nd's To The Point, so I thought I would offer it up for today.

At the time it slipped by me, because, well, you could almost put the whole Granholm-bashing transcript up and call it the "statement of the day". I grew weary of listening to him, and he was only on for 15 minutes.

This was pointed out to me later as odd- and when I listened again, yes, it seemed rather odd that Bishop would say this-

Albin: Have the six months that you've just experienced been what you expected?

Bishop: It's a good question... certainly my wife would give you a different answer...

You know, the budget has become quite a large issue, one that I didn't anticipate, and it's one that will continue to be a large issue... and the answer is no, it's much more budget oriented than it was in the past, but it's our responsibility and we are prepared to do it.

Mike didn't anticipate the budget problem?

Was he just not paying attention when last December the news reports indicated this? (Peter Luke 12/22/2006- now archived)

Most fiscal analysts peg current budget shortfalls this fiscal year between $300 million and $600 million, with about half of that occurring in the K-12 education budget. In fiscal year 2008, the House Fiscal Agency is identifying nearly $700 million in new spending pressures for which there is no new tax revenue.

And Mike didn't know about that when he walked in the door as the new Senate Majority leader last January?

When you couple that with the fact that the SBT still had to be replaced, the budget issue was the issue as they took office.

And as far as it being "much more budget oriented than in the past"- seems to me that the budget has been the main issue that has marked Granholm's time in office.

Here are some interesting tidbits from Peter Luke's year-end roundup from 2003, her first year as governor, and the first year the Republican obstruction tactics started - see if any of this sounds familiar.

Granholm has said after this month's budget reduction moves, there is little left to cut. Republicans like Sen. Shirley Johnson of Royal Oak, say continued reductions in state spending will have Michigan soon looking like Mississippi.

Social service advocates argue Granholm hasn't done enough to convince the public of the need for more revenue, even through means that don't require raising taxes.

The much-discussed six-month freeze in the income tax rate, which will be cut to 3.9 percent on July 1 instead of her original proposal of Jan. 1, 2005, does nothing to address budget problems to come in the next fiscal year.

"The governor is not trying to explain to the public that these deficits require another kind of solution," said Sharon Parks, a tax analyst with the Michigan League for Human Services. "We cannot keep cutting our way out of this."

Granholm aides respond that Republicans had to be dragged into approving even a six-month tax cut delay.

And Granholm did say last week that Michigan's tax structure is out of whack. She wants a rewrite of Michigan's Single Business Tax, which will expire by the end of the decade. And in exchange for lowering the sales tax rate, she wants to explore expanding the things that are taxed to reflect the growth of the service economy. Michigan residents pay 6-percent tax for a pair of barber scissors at the pharmacy, but no tax for a haircut.

That was 2003. Most of it could have been written last week, except now she has explained to the public the need for more revenue, and Republicans don't care if we end up looking like Mississippi.

And look who was calling for a rewrite of the SBT - something else the Republicans dragged their feet on until they blew it up with no replacement in 2006.

The budget was short to the tune of $834 million in December of that year, and the fight to fix it was partisan and brutal.

And the budget problems and partisan fights have been ongoing ever since.

Surely Mike must remember that, after all, he was there, obstructing progress every step of the way.