Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Senate Republicans Cancel Session, No Vote on Energy Package This Month

"Will our Lansing legislators finally find the will to act, or will they wimp out again on energy policy as the jobs exodus from Michigan continues? We'll find out this week." - Tom Walsh, Detroit Free Press 8/10

No, Tom, we won't. As predicted, the Senate Republicans are choosing to kick the can down the road for one more month by canceling today's session - the only one scheduled for August. But hey, what's another month, right? Not like Michigan needs the jobs or anything.

Granholm, back in February -

"We've got to have people understand that every day we wait, job providers are going somewhere else. We just lost one, as a matter of fact. A turbine company took us off their list because we don't have a renewable portfolio standard."

Senate Republicans, famous for springing their legislation at the last minute and holding dead-of-the-night votes without the chance for debate, suddenly need more time to "review" whether or not they want to bring economic prosperity and environmental responsibility to our state. Seems like a no-brainer to the rest of the educated world and the 28 states that have gone before us, but as they tell MIRS...

Some Senate Republicans contend that the complex nature of legislation warrants a thorough review.

"First of all, we need to see it in writing," said Sen. Patty BIRKHOLZ (R-Saugatuck).

Puh-leeze, girlfriend. Not buying that excuse. Not when Republicans have acted with lightning speed before when it came to blowing up the state budget. But we will buy the fact that the Senate Republicans are now using the election as an excuse for their inaction on energy. Watch Marsden give it away with this next statement.

The rumor going around Lansing late in the afternoon was that Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester) had blown up the deal and asked that both sides return to square one.

Bishop Spokesman Matt MARSDEN pointed the finger at Democrats, who he said really wanted the bills passed before convention time.

Yeah, like last April, Matt. Or maybe June. Just who is playing politics here? Senate Republicans have stalled on this package until "convention time", and now want to use that against the Democrats and claim the bills are for political gain only. Which is, of course, complete and utter bullshit, but pretty much par for the course when it comes to Senate Republican obstruction.

The Bay City Times is the latest newspaper that calls for action. They review the tax credits passed to entice Hemlock Semiconductor to expand here, and add this on at the end...

We need another nudge toward this goal from our lawmakers in Lansing - one that would cost the state nothing.

Yet, the 7 percent renewable energy standard for Michigan by 2015 that the state Senate passed last month is laughable. It doesn't even reach the way-too-low standard that the House set in April - 10 percent.

Let House and Senate conference committee delegates exercise those puny targets into something with broad shoulders - 20 percent by 2020, or even a 25 percent renewable standard by 2025.

Bold statements are what are needed in order to move Michigan closer to the top of the new race toward sources of clean, renewable energy.

The only "bold statement" Senate Republicans are willing to make is that they will go anywhere and say anything to deny our state progress, and they are doing it in the name of partisan politics. Although the main players say they are "close to an agreement", this delay, and the excuses that have followed, are all the proof you need.

Birkholz noted there are political conventions and Labor Day weekend to contend with.

"House members are anxious to get back out and campaign," she noted. "They have election year concerns."

Republicans have "election year concerns" as well - preventing Michigan from gaining jobs and investment. They need things to be bad in order for Saul's talking points to stick. Always keep that in mind.