Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Whitmer Smacks Down the Selfish Senate Republicans

Watch as Senator Gretchen Whitmer takes it to Mike Bishop and the Senate Republicans, calling them out for wanting to go after the state employee pay and benefits - while they selfishly protect their own.

Senator Prusi does a great job as well. Check it out.

Mike Bishop has made this issue his "Myopic Budget Solution of the Year", insisting on more state employees sacrifices, particularly that we stop a long over due pay raise. Grand total of the promised raise - $48 million. Not exactly going to fill the $1.7 billion dollar hole, but Bishop had been chewing it like a dog with a new bone for the press, refusing to consider other solutions.

The issue failed today in the Senate; needing 26 votes, it only drew 21 Republicans and Mickey Switalski. Bruce Patterson didn't vote. Wonder what kind of fit Bishop threw about it. Nothing has been mentioned yet, but you can be sure he ran off to pout and figure out new threats to make because he didn't get his way.

Senator Whitmer says that state employees have made $700 million in concessions in recent years, and called out the Republicans who refused to cut their own office budgets or benefits. The word hypocrisy comes up a few times, and it couldn't be more apt in this case...

You see, in the eyes of these Senate Republicans, they're special. They shouldn't have to sacrifice. When they voted to cut the benefits of future lawmakers recently, Nancy Cassis stood up and said that current members needed to keep their benefits, because that's what they were promised going in.

But Cassis said cutting off benefits for current lawmakers would be unfair.

"There were those who were elected that came into the system with the expectation of this being part of their total compensation," Cassis said. "This very clearly states what the expectations are (and) they know coming into this what their overall total compensation would be."

But state employees don't count apparently. They shouldn't have those expectations that the state live up to the total compensation that was promised them, right? They can take more cuts. Not the precious and delicate lawmakers though. They shouldn't have to sacrifice.

Here's Valde Garcia, telling us we won't get the best and the brightest to serve in the future if they don't get the great bennies.

Garcia noted current legislators will get their benefits, and said banning them could make it hard to recruit new lawmakers.

"You are going to need some very bright people in here to solve some very difficult problems that lie ahead," Garcia said.

But the other state employees, the ones that have to deal with violent prisoners, the ones saddled with a thousand cases at DHS and are afraid to go to work, the ones that you and I have to do business with - we don't need to attract "bright" people for those jobs. Oh no. After all, they're just dealing with the public.

I've never begrudged lawmakers their pay and benefits - until now. When they insist that others take pay and benefit cuts while they destroy our state by refusing to fund the schools and provide public safety, while they cut the poor off of health care, while they crash the budget into the wall two out of the past three years and still have the audacity to think they are "special" somehow... it's getting easier to see why the "throw the bums out" sentiment runs so strong these days.

I don't particularly like term limits either, but I'm sure grateful that most of these guys are gone after this year. We should throw a parade the day they leave.