Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Bad Press for the Do-Nothing Legislature

WILX has a scathing report about the lawmakers taking vacation while the schools are in crisis, even going so far as to wave around the Senate schedule that shows they will only work four more days this year. Glad someone finally noticed.

The story is one you have read here already; partisan gridlock is preventing anything from being accomplished. When the Republicans say "no" to everything and refuse to face reality, and the House leadership won't stand up and call them out on it - say goodbye to funding your public schools, folks. Nothing is going to get done, not this year.

We caught up with at least two lawmakers who have foregone the hunt: Republican Rep. Paul Opsommer and Democratic Rep. Barb Byrum.

They're both working this week, but neither is very optimistic the legislature can act fast enough to fill that gap in the budget.

"I don't think we're going to come to a conclusion by the end of this week, no," Opsommer says. Byrum? "We're at a deadlock. We're waiting for the Senate to act."

Both chambers have passed proposals to fill the funding gap, but Biladeau says petty politics -- and a vacation for lawmakers -- are preventing the two sides from reconciling.

Let's define "working". The House is holding committee meetings on the film credits and other judiciary/transportation issues, the Senate reports "no major items on the agenda" for their one day at work this week. Matt Marsden indicates that the Senate simply refuses to address this issue, preferring to ignore the continuing revenue drop, and, as predicted, blame the governor for the cuts already made. Wow, didn't see that one coming! Alan Cropsey stuck with the Senate Republican line for the Mt. Pleasant Sun, clinging to the woefully outdated budget numbers from May, whining about the governor pushing for a tax increase, and never, ever, answering the question about what the Republicans would do to deal with this crisis. Besides "more tax cuts", that is. The only good thing about the Senate Republicans mouthing off to the press is that these stories usually contain the fact that schools might be facing a $500-$600 per pupil cut next year, which blows all the Republican talking points right out of the water.

So, the House sold us all down the river on the budget, the Senate refuses to compromise because they got everything they wanted and have ready-made scapegoats in the Democrats, and all of you look absolutely horrible in the eyes of the public. Congratulations.

How is "the plan" working out for us now, Speaker Dillon? If "the plan" was to make the people of Michigan roll their eyes in disgust whenever the legislature is mentioned - mission accomplished. You are there.