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.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Close But No Cigar
There was so much hope. Rarely do business and organized labor agree on anything, but they were on board. The need was clearly there, just ask any motorist. The governor had signed off. And the last time the mighty legislature got up enough nerve to deal with this was in 1994. So the planets were aligning and the only ingredient missing was 56 votes in the house and 20 in the senate. And that's not going to happen. So much for raising new dollars to repair Michigan's aging and pothole pocked road and bridge system. Nice try Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the road-building lobby. "This is on life support?" "And somebody has their hand on the plug?" Delivering the death knell there is Sen. Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac) who has labored hard in the vineyards for scrapping the gas tax to fix roads and going to a wholesale percentage tax on fuel oil to raise the bucks. Last December when he tested the waters in his senate GOP caucus he had five votes. Now he has three including his own. He needs those twenty votes and rest assured 17 democrats are not going to save the day for ole Jud. Next year the democrats have a shot at regaining control of that body and they are not about to lead the charge to raise taxes. Period. End of story.
The only glimmer of hope for Gilbert is for the democratically controlled house to take the lead, and send the senate a package of new road dollars. "That might change the dynamics a little bit," Gilbert says with his fingers crossed. But the house is up for election, too next year. Repeat. Period. End of story.