Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Continuation Budget? Don't Go There.

The House has held session only nine times since June 26th. The Senate, eight. Despite having essentially the past two months off, remarkably one House Republican is already calling for a continuation budget if they can't reach agreement by the end of September. Chuck Moss (R - Birmingham) seems to think there should be a pledge for further procrastination from everyone involved...

So here's a proposal: How about we all just make a “no shutdown pledge?” Just agree to pass continuation budgets, to keep the lights on while we work through this conundrum? I challenge everyone, Gov. Granholm included, to pledge No Shutdown. Once was enough.

Why, did you need September off too? Have other plans for October? If you can put it off until November, then we enter the holiday season, and you can take your scheduled two-week break for Thanksgiving! And after that, you are back for a week, maybe two at best, and then it's a month or longer off for Christmas! You could push the whole thing into next year!

Here's a proposal: No. Just shut it down then. It's the only threat we have to get you guys to take this seriously and do your job. For a little memory refresher, this is your job, by the way...

The legislature has had more than enough time to avert this crisis by adopting a balanced budget. It's the one lawmaking duty the legislature is given by the Michigan constitution. - Governor Granholm, Sept. 27th, 2007

The governor can propose all she wants - it's up to the legislature to dispose. It appears that her plan is out there, in a vague form anyway; for all of Bishop's complaining that they haven't seen a proposal yet, how is it that the Detroit News come up with all these details about her plan in mid-August? Someone leaked this stuff, probably on purpose - and now it's up to the House to decide what they want to do. (Update: Just as I posted this, the governor made it all "public". See post above.)

Just take a look at what is going on in Pennsylvania to see how a continuation budget would work - both sides have dug their heels in deeper, and they are now in their third month of the impasse.

No. Don't even consider it.

Here is another proposal instead: Time for the House to take a vote on the Senate budget cuts. Since the Republicans want to run around and claim their job here is "done" by making these draconian cuts that are unacceptable to everyone, maybe we should get some House Republicans on record as to how they feel about eliminating the Promise Scholarship, as well as cuts to cities, K-12, health care funding, and all the other stuff that people are currently throwing a fit about. Might be nice to have that all on record, but then again, Democrats wouldn't know a good strategy if it hit them upside the head with a brick, so don't hold your breath on that happening.

Business groups came out today and called for more "reform" in response to the current crisis. Anyone here think any of this could get done in the next couple of weeks, even if they wanted to? Anyone?

The group offered 20 reforms -- including consolidation of school districts, reducing prison sentences, pooling health care for public employees, and eliminating arbitration for police and firefighters -- but quickly added that it is not a list with unanimous agreement in the business community.

So, you guys can't even agree on what needs to happen, you just know that it needs to happen right now. Um, thanks, but no thanks. Mike Bishop has been mouthing the words "reform" for the past two years, but it turns out that was simply code for "more cuts" and "time for vacation". Nothing serious on government reform gets accomplished until the current Senate is gone, and we all know it.

No continuation budget. It's pretty obvious that a hard deadline needs to be set with this group, or they will continue to put off the tough choices for as long as they possibly can.