Friday, October 30, 2009

Granholm Signs Remaining Bishop-Dillon Budget Bills

Make sure and call this what it is - the "Bishop-Dillon Budget Agreement". It's important that you never, ever forget who brought us this. Ever.

Had a feeling this would happen - there was not enough wiggle room left in these budgets to restore the Promise Scholarship, or your local cops and firefighters either. And get ready to take a number at your local emergency room. Wave goodbye to the state as you knew it.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the final six bills for the state’s $44.5 billion 2009-10 budget this morning, vetoing more than 70 items but failing to find a way to restore cuts to college scholarships, local government and Medicaid.


Emerson acknowledged the administration had been unable to find a way, because of limits on the governor’s discretion, to restore $120 million funding for the Promise Grant college scholarship program for 96,000 students, a $55.7 million cut to revenue sharing for local governments or an 8% cut in Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes who care for the poor and disabled.

Efforts to raise taxes in targeted areas for those programs have foundered in the Legislature. Earlier this week, the state Senate overwhelmingly a 3% tax on the gross receipts of doctors to shore up Medicaid.

Granholm said she has not given up on finding new revenue to restore some of the cuts, especially those to public schools. But Emerson said that may take time because the impact of the cutbacks will not be felt immediately. He blamed state Senate Republicans for intransigence on finding more revenue, but also said that much of the ongoing budget crisis is due to sharp declines in existing tax revenue, especially income and sales taxes.

No details on what was cut yet - but the MSU Extension has been spared. For now.

Both Granholm and Emerson called out the Senate Republicans for their refusal to compromise, and the Governor vows the fight will continue.

“Democrats have compromised, the Republicans have not,” she said. “They have drawn a line in the sand. The fight will go on, this is not the end of the line, this is not the last chapter.”

This budget used $1.4 billion in stimulus - just think if that stimulus money hadn't been there. Hard to imagine? Well, we are going to find out just what that is like in the next budget, where rumors $500 per-pupil cuts to K-12 have been floated already.

Bishop and the Senate Republicans are going to roll out their ideas on "reform" next week, and whaddayawanna bet it will include... oh, just an educated guess here... local right-to-work laws (already introduced by Cassis), more cuts to state employee benefits, privatization of prison (and other) services, suspending prevailing wage laws, and probably more attacks on services for the poor. Just to name a few. According to Gongwer, these "reforms" were developed with help from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Mackinac Center, so you can be assured that it contain more "drown government, but serve the rich" fiscal policy.

Oh and by the way, we are getting sued over the cuts to the adult Medicaid dental benefit. Just read somewhere else that we may be sued to restore school bus inspections, slated to end as of tomorrow. (Edit: Nope - Granholm ordered they continue.)

No words. Just sorrow. And profound disappointment in the House that agreed to this budget, and didn't take a stand when they could have.

Now, we will all pay the price.

UPDATE: Dillion speaks on the Bishop-Dillon budget.

House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, who led the House to the final budget deal, joined with Granholm in denouncing Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, and Senate Republicans as unwilling to compromise on new tax revenues.

"The Senate has chosen to put tax breaks for oil companies and loopholes for the tobacco industry ahead of education for our kids, police and fire protection, and health care for our families," Dillon said in a statement. "This Senate-led 'all-cuts' budget will result in bankrupt communities, schools in receivership and broken promises for students seeking to go to college so they can join the middle class."

Maybe he should have thought of that before he voted for it, eh?

Must read stories that came out after I posted this: Peter Luke is here, Kathy Barks Hoffman is here.