Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rock, Meet Hard Place

Uh oh. Will Daniel Howes have to eat his words? Will I have to eat mine? Will we all get free Valium before this is over? Will it help if we say please? How about pretty please?

For the second time this week, the "T" word comes up as the "R" word, only this time it's probable. Or something.

House Speaker Andy Dillon said this morning it's probable he will send the Senate a recommendation to increase state revenue to fill part of the state's $2.8 billion budget hole.

But the Democratic leader from Redford Township said he's waiting until all of the state budgets pass out of conference committee before coming up with any numbers.

The Dept. of Corrections, Human Services, Transportation, Community Health, and general government (revenue sharing) were the major budgets left in committee as of last night - and those are proving to be difficult if not impossible to reconcile.

Dillon said he believes the Senate may be amenable to some revenue increase, but only after conference reports are completed. The committees are trying to meet a target of $1.279 million in budget cuts.

"They're recognizing these cuts are going to be too deep to achieve ... but we haven't given up yet," Dillon said. "I think from what I'm hearing a lot of senators are nervous about the magnitude of the cuts, so we're going to have to find a fair and equitable solution."

As noted in a comment earlier, a panel voted to continue the Promise Scholarship - but they have not found a way to fund it.

The Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted along party lines to come up with $120 million to pay for the Promise scholarship in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. A specific revenue source was not identified, making Thursday's vote merely symbolic.

But it's very important to note the words "along party lines" - meaning the Republicans wouldn't vote for it, even when there wasn't any revenue attached. That should tell you all you need to know about getting votes "later" for any attempt to restore funding and/or programs that are being cut now.

When you guys settle on a plan, let us all know, k?

UPDATE: As of 6:00 tonight, it looks like nothing has moved today. No reports of budgets making it out of committee. Albin reports that they can't get 56 votes on the floor for the K-12 cuts reported out yesterday. And probably the most important bit of news to come out of all of that is that Granholm said she would sign a continuation budget. Looks like we may need it.