Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 13 Michigan Budget Held Hostage: Senate Republicans Offer Up More Excuses

"Every bill passed by the legislature shall be presented to the governor before it becomes law, and the governor shall have 14 days measured in hours and minutes from the time of presentation in which to consider it." -Constitution of Michigan of 1963

  • Senate Republicans are now grasping at some really thin straws in their attempt to justify why they are not turning over the six remaining budgets for the governor to sign. Last week, Bishop ran around and proclaimed "the two houses completed work on the 2009-10 budget", now, the Senate Republicans want to claim that because of the continuation, they have until the end of the month to work on the budget. So, they're done, but they're not done. Since the governor has clearly stated her intentions, this is a just their latest gambit to prevent her from doing her job, or, this is practically an admission that they want to bring about another shut down by holding these budgets until the last minute. Maybe both. Gongwer, via MI-Tech News:

    Matt Marsden also said Ms. Granholm's demand for the budgets to be sent immediately is perplexing since the Legislature acceded to her demand that a continuation budget be approved and now has until October 31 to complete work on the budget.

    Let us never forget that the need for the continuation budget was brought about by the Legislature's inability to complete their job. On the night of Sept. 30th, K-12 and General Government could not make it through the House, and State Police could not make it through the Senate. They weren't done in time. Thus the need for the continuation. Just for the record. Again.

    And, even though they claimed after the fact that the budgets were complete, they still demanded that Granholm negotiate, even as they said they would not negotiate, because the budgets were complete. You follow? Neither do I. Doesn't matter. Now, even though the governor indicated that she would negotiate, because she held a press conference to ask the Legislature to finish their job, they aren't going to negotiate. Or something like that. Within that same Gongwer report, we get this from Marsden:

    "We need to have a greater discussion on what her problems are."

    But we also get this:

    He also said before her press conference that Ms. Granholm had indicated to Mr. Bishop that she would meet with him to discuss her specific concerns with the budget bills. Given her comments at the press conference, such a meeting may no longer be needed, Mr. Marsden said.

    Whatever. If that is the case, the work is done, the Senate needs to do their constitutional duty and turn over the budgets. If they don't like the vetoes, they can override. That is the way this works, by law. All these excuses are simply bratty temper tantrums from a bunch of Republicans who are refusing to do their job, and they really don't have a leg to stand on here. That's why they keep shifting around, to keep from falling over.

  • Hey college students! Marsden has a quote for you, too. From the AP, we find out where the Senate Republicans stand when it comes to saving the Promise Scholarships.

    "We're in the middle of an economic crisis. And if we as a state don't focus on sending kids to college and educating our kids, then we have completely abdicated our responsibility to reshape this economy," (Granholm) said.

    Marsden said the Promise Grant college scholarship, which goes to around 96,000 students, "is not something that fell under the definition of an essential government service."

    For a party that constantly complains about the "brain drain" of young people leaving the state, they sure are quick to show you the door, aren't they?

  • The Department of Treasury weighs in on the plan to eliminate the MBT surcharge to pay for K-12. From MIRS:

    The Senate's plan to phase out the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) surcharge will put the state in the hole to the tune of $356 million by Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, according to information released today by the Department of Treasury.

    Approaching a half a billion dollar hole for some other lawmakers to fix. That is the kind of fiscal responsibility we get from the Senate Republicans. Not only that, Governor Granholm pointed out they are taking the money from the pockets of the working poor to do it. Back to MI-Tech:

    The governor also criticized the tax proposals passed by the Senate on Thursday saying they failed to finance the K-12 School Aid budget. In particularly, she blasted the freeze in the Earned Income Tax Credit to finance a phase-out of the surcharge the Michigan Business Tax as a "dollar for dollar" transfer from the pockets of the working poor to businesses.

    Rob from the poor to give to the rich, and leave a huge deficit when you are done. Is George Bush advising Mike Bishop on fiscal policy?

  • Republicans are having a battle for bragging rights over who rolled Andy Dillon and the House Democrats the best on this budget. It seems that Kevin Elsenheimer wants the House Republicans to receive the credit, but the Senate Republicans claim that it is their friendship with Dillon that sealed the deal. From the MIRS gossip file:

    House Republicans have argued that they deserve the credit on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget, like in an Oct. 1 news release titled: "Do the Math: House Republican minority does heavy lifting, delivers for Michigan." House Minority Leader Kevin ELSENHEIMER (R-Kewadin) said that his caucus delivered the majority of votes on the six toughest budgets.

    "House Republicans controlled the agenda because we took the risk, came out with a plan, and worked hard to provide the true leadership the people of Michigan deserve," he said.

    But their counterparts in the Senate didn't take kindly to the crowing.

    "I don't think there's any credit to be given there," said Matt MARSDEN, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester). "They did the job they were supposed to do as part of the agreement between the Majority Leader and the House Speaker Andy DILLON (D-Redford Twp.). I understand that being in the minority, you have to do what you have to do to move a message."

    House GOP spokesman Bill Nowling tried to downplay the rift between the chambers, and he threw Andy under the bus for good measure.

    "If you need minority GOP votes to get work done in the House, I think that raises bigger questions about what's going on in the Dem side than what is happening on ours," he said.

    With friends like these...

  • And what was Speaker Dillon's reply to all of the above?

    Once again, the House Democrats are silent when it comes to standing up for themselves and/or the citizens of state of Michigan.

    Maybe today....