Thursday, January 29, 2009

Falling Five Stories 1/29/09

A roundup of the Michigan news:

  • As predicted, the Michigan Senate votes 25-11 to make the budget deficit deeper by repealing the MBT surcharge.

    And Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said it's irresponsible to speed the death of the surcharge without identifying ways to handle the loss of revenue that would cause: $166 million immediately and $593 million a year by the time it would be fully phased out in the 2010-11 budget year.

    "What has happened to my fiscally conservative friends?" asked Sen. Mike Switalski, D-Roseville. "Do they really wish to return to the days of fiscal imbalance?"

    No Senator, they want you to take the hit for the cuts. Just like they wanted you to take the hit for raising taxes. This is not about being "conservative", or even "responsible", this is about partisan brinksmanship.

    This bill goes nowhere in the House, and is a total waste of the taxpayer's time, just like all the other times they pulled this stunt. (See: 2008)

  • If you ever doubt the power of photojournalism - just take a look at this story in the Detroit News. It has had me rattled all day. I can tell by the DN Twitter feed that some are upset by its publication, but the story behind it warrants its release: the body had been there for weeks and no one reported it.

  • A reminder of what the Michigan Republicans in Congress voted against yesterday: an estimated $18.6 billion in relief for our state. Granted, this is just an estimate, but it was an estimate from the pros at the Center for American Progress ...

    $404 million for weatherization and other energy programs.
    $1.3 billion for roads, sewer upgrades and other infrastructure.
    $2.5 billion for education, including K-12 and college repairs and modernization, Pell grants and child care block grants.
    $4 billion for unemployment benefits, job training programs, public housing and emergency shelters, and similar programs.
    $4.8 billion for state services, including Medicaid.
    $5.7 billion for tax cuts, including $500 breaks for individuals earning no more than $100,000 annually.

    The Freep's Ron Dzwonkowski already pointing out how this vote might spell trouble for the GOP in 2010.

  • Speaking of energy efficiency and modernization: The DEQ building in Bay City will not only be the "greenest" building in Michigan, it will be one of the greenest buildings in America.

    State officials hope to gain a platinum rating for the building, the highest standard awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. It would be the only platinum-rated building in Michigan, and one of only about five in the United States, Diebolt said.

    A wind turbine, solar panels, smart sensors for temperature adjustments, ceiling tiles made from wheat, and insulation made from blue jeans. A great example and future case study of what can be accomplished. Go read.

  • Saul Anuzis looks to be a longshot going into the vote for RNC chair. Brewer rubs it in. Since Ron Weiser is taking over in Michigan, anyone want to guess where Saul ends up? Perhaps we should have a contest... but I can't figure out what the winner should receive...