Friday, August 10, 2007

Senate Republican SOD for 8/10 - Bishop pushes the Oct 1st deadline

Mike Bishop seems to think that the safety net for his obstruction on the 2008 budget is a continuation of the budget currently in place. If he manages to stall past Oct. 1st, we could just push this baby right to the end of the year.

From MIRS- John Cherry pointed out the obvious.

No single FY 2008 department budget has passed more than one legislative chamber and the talks between the House and Senate are creeping along. A state budget needs to be in place by Oct. 1, making a shutdown an "imminent potential event."

"We don't want a shutdown," Cherry told MIRS. "But I think anybody who has some sense of how state government operates sits here in the middle of August…and wonders how this can be avoided."

To which Bishop replied - and tell me that this guy hasn't been talking to Dick DeVos lately when you hear this statement -

"I think it's irresponsible for elected members of government to talk about shutting down government services. She shouldn't use it as a threat," Bishop said. "She's the CEO of the company. She's got the ability to make sure that (a shutdown) doesn't happen, and if that's the case, she shouldn't use it as a threat."

State government as a business. Didn't we hear that theme last year? Didn't it go down to a 14 pt. defeat? Maybe Mike missed that. After all, he was oblivious to the budget problem too.

More insanity over the jump...
Also from that same MIRS article we find out Bishop and Granholm haven't talked since he hid in the men's room the night the MBT passed. That had been a persistent rumor, and now it's in print. Thank you Tim Skubick for getting that out there.

Republican leadership in action. Run and hide from the big mean Governor.

And we also find out that the notion of "ongoing talks" that both Dillon and Bishop had repeatedly stated were happening in July actually had a bit of a gap. Maybe this coincided with a certain vavcation they insisted on taking.

"It's been awhile since we had a good long talk," he said, while adding he has been meeting on a regular basis with House Speaker Andy Dillion (D-Redford Twp.) even though they did not meet for a two-week stretch last month.

Wow. There were assurances that these talks were happening all through July. Wonder why they thought it necessary to give us that appearance when it really wasn't true.

Yesterday, Granholm and Cherry shot back that a continuation budget is a "ridiculous" notion.

"This is not a solution," she said, before once again urging lawmakers to sit in their chair and vote on the budget that she introduced. She also complained that lawmakers are meeting one day a week during August and as it turns out, the Senate did not meet this week.

Later in the morning, Lt. Gov. John Cherry outlined a practical problem with simply keeping a status quo budget until Dec. 31 - the state doesn't have the money to continue current services in FY 2008, whether the Legislature passes a budget for 12 months, six months, three months or one month.

"A continuation budget is a deficit budget," he said. "That's against the Constitution. I don't know how you do it."

Rumor has it they won't meet next week, either. August 22nd is the next time they all get together.

Not much the Governor can do. It's all in the hands of Bishop and Dillon to get things moving.

"The Governor has moved on," said Granholm Press Secretary Liz Boyd. "When we have budget bills passed and in conference committee, the stage will be set for some negotiations. Until then, the Legislature needs to act on the budget."

The Senate has not taken action on any of the 10 departmental budgets that have passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The House has voted out four and has taken some action on all 18 departmental budgets that fund state government. Although three out of the last seven budgets weren't finalized until September, the lack of movement of the actual bills is unusual for the Legislature.

Granholm was asked if she could call lawmakers back into session, which she has threatened to do before.

"I can call them back, but I can't get them to vote," she responded.

If you remember back in the spring, Mike Bishop pushed his agenda right through the Senate and held a vote without any time for debate. Now the tactic seems to be to stall as much as you possibly can.

And talk of government as if it were a company.

There is a really big clue in today's SOD. Let's hope that people figure it out.