Monday, May 12, 2008

What Surplus?

House Republicans are running around the state today to introduce their legislation to suspend the gas tax, and pointing to the "surplus" from 2007 as a way to pay for it.

Rep. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) said the idea would cost Michigan's general fund about $300 million, but the budget surplus at the end of the last fiscal year, he said, was $350 million.

You don't have to go far to blow this idea right out of the water - and the fun part is, you can use Mike Bishop and the Detroit News to do it.

Remember how DeRoche wanted to give out a tax rebate with the surplus money? Here's Mike Bishop, from the Lansing State Journal, 1/25/08-

And he remained silent on the DeRoche rebate until he showed up at a recent conference with House Speaker Any Dillon, D-Redford Township.

"The reality is ... there is not a surplus at all," Bishop conceded. If there was, he quickly adds, he would give the money back, too.

And from the Detroit News, 1/15/08, with a smaller figure; they also argued that this money didn't really exist.

The touted surplus of about $260 million for the 2007 General Fund budget year is illusory -- the state borrowed almost $360 million from one-time sources to balance the budget -- hardly fodder for a tax rebate.

But we won't let that stand in the way of a good PR stunt now, right, Republicans?

Remember this if your Republican legiscritter shows up today in your local media.