Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Granholm Stands Up to Senate Republican Cuts

Finally. Looks like the Guv is reaching for her inner Ed Rendell here and correcting Speaker Dillon for his comments to the press yesterday about her position on the Senate Republican budget cuts.

Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Granholm, said budget cuts may add up to the $1.2 billion passed by the Senate earlier this summer, but the governor will not approve the Senate's list of reductions.

She said the governor took exception to House Speaker Andy Dillon's reported characterization that Granholm is "keeping an open mind" on approving the Senate cuts.

"We are not keeping an open mind on that," Boyd said. "We believe the Senate cuts go too far."

The Senate would slash money for college scholarships, mental health programs, Medicaid reimbursement to health care providers, state aid to cities and townships, and public school aid.

There have been conflicting reports about veto threats, so we will let that go for now - but I, for one, hope she uses them. If the House wants to sell her and other Democrats down the river by caving in to the Senate Republicans every single chance they get, you got nothing left to lose at that point - but the rest of us stand to lose plenty. So, go for it, Governor. You might win back some fans.

And as far as the House goes, while everyone was busy playing "bipartisan buddies" yesterday for the press, the Senate Republicans were busy criticizing the House for not getting their budgets done. Here's Tom George on the floor of the Senate, trying to blame the House for not only 2007, but this year's problem as well.

I have some comments regarding the budget process, and I note that in the press the Speaker is now proposing that conference committees consider proceeding and using as targets basically the Senate-passed targets. I am wondering if this is an admission that all the work they have done to date has been flawed.

They have passed budgets to us that have been unrealistic because they neither propose cuts nor new revenue sources necessary to balance next year’s budget. They have been working for nine months just stating their budgets, and they are overdue. This is the second time in three years that the House has been unable to do its job. Instead of coming forth with their own proposal that is balanced, they have been spending nine months campaigning against ours.

With friends like that... Senator George went on to introduce a concurrent resolution that says that they must identify revenue sources for their appropriations based on the May Estimating Conference, blah, blah, blah, go read the link if you want to know the details. Point is, they continue to abuse the House, simply because they can. And for those who don't bother with the Senate Journals (which is everybody), Republican Alan Cropsey took it to the regular press. The Senate has run around all summer making sure everyone knew they got their budget(s) done, so the inference here isn't hard to miss.

State Senator Alan Cropsey says budget negotiations should not have gone down to the wire in two of the last three years.

"The House has to pass its balanced budget. The Senate has to pass its balanced budget, and it needs to be done by June first, so everybody knows the cards that are on the table, and what we're going to be doing at that point or having a good idea," Cropsey said.

Cropsey says the budget impasse in Lansing is forcing an unfair hardship on local school districts, local governments, universities, and community colleges. That's because they have fiscal years that begin July first instead of October first.

Pay no attention to the fact that the Senate Republicans plan on bringing all sorts of "undue hardship" to these fine institutions with their draconian budget cuts - the real tragedy here is that the House didn't do it sooner. And the Republicans will make sure everyone knows that.

Now go on and ask these guys for a supplemental agreement. Just to see what they will say. I'm sure they will be more than willing to help House Democrats out, right?