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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back Scratching Time

    You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours is a time-honored tradition in this town and we're about to see if the top legislative leaders can do it.
     The senate GOP leader has a plan to eliminate term limits and create a part-time legislature.  The speaker of the house has a plan to revamp the state's tax system and while the two proposals have nothing in common, they will be linked.
      In blunt terms, Mike Bishop is not going to get his thing passed unless he coughs up some votes for Andy Dillon's plan and vice versa.
      There is widespread public support for a part-time legislature. The challenge has been to get enough petition signatures to place this on the ballot for enthusiastic voters to approve. With a two-thirds vote, lawmakers can place it on the ballot.  The rub in Bishop's plan is elimination of term limits which remains very popular with the unwashed.
       Lawmakers for obvious reasons have been reluctant to put themselves out of work for half the year, and even more reluctant to muck around with the equally popular term limit concept.
       But democrats might be willing to hold their noses and vote for the Bishop scheme, if he'll provide some votes for a tax revision that might include a graduated income tax.
       Democrats have lusted for that for years but the one time it was up for a statewide vote, citizens gave it thumbs down.
       Republicans agree with the citizens.  Thing Is, if there is a graduated income tax, lots of republicans who make more moola than democrats, will end up paying more to the state.
       At this read, it appea rs that neither leader is going to get his way. But we are not even in the first inning as Bishop and Dillon are just warming up.
       But if they both received good back scratchers for Christmas, it just might happen.


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