House Speaker Andy Dillon said today leaders are slow again this year to hash out the state budget, reflective of recent years when stalled negotiations forced brief state government shutdowns in October.
"There's just not a willingness to get to the table," the Redford Township Democrat said on Detroit talk radio.
Abby Rubley, spokeswoman for Dillon, said the speaker was referring to Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester. A spokesman for Bishop was not immediately available for comment.
He was, was he? It's about time. And it looks like he might be finally admitting that we can't get to $1.7 billion on cuts alone.
Granholm and legislative leaders say they want an early budget resolution before campaigning in this election year goes into full swing. But Dillon said on WJR-AM (760) he's not seeing evidence of that happening. Last year and in 2007, final budget bills were passed after the midnight Oct. 1 deadline, leading to brief shutdowns.
The speaker also commented about the tax on services: "The state is going to have to get there eventually. I was hoping not to have it be part of the budget solution. Whether we can keep it separate remains to be seen."
Even Pete Hoesktra admitted that we need to lower the sales tax and extend it to services - but then he wants to turn around and raise the sales tax so business doesn't have to pay anything at all. Everybody catch that? Pete Hoekstra wants to raise your taxes. Wonder why the teabaggers aren't out screaming at him. Oh, I forgot, IOKIYAR.
So, go get this done before we have to push the public schools into bankruptcy and lay off the cops and fire fighters and the Legislature and Governor take the blame for it all. If done correctly, the spin could be that Democrats want to save those things, while those mean, mean Republicans are insisting on more cuts.
At this point, what other choice do you have?
UPDATE: The story now includes a quote from Marsden: "Sen. Bishop has been and always will be open to discussion about resolving the budget. But that solution cannot include raising taxes."
So the Party of No is indicating that they are NOT "open to discussion" at all. They are insisting on devastating cuts to schools, after insiting on and receiving devastating cuts to schools last year. There will be no compromise from Republicans, period, even though the latest EPIC poll has indicated that voters are more concerned about school funding than they are "controlling taxes".
Use that, Democrats. That's your opening. Or, pay the consequences for the cuts or another shutdown at the polls. If you don't point out Republican obstruction on this issue, you will share the blame in the end.