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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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOP Controls House, What?

Normally in the political game, the side with the most votes,
calls all the shots but in the Michigan house where democrats have 67
votes, it is actually the republicans who have de facto control of the
budget process.
'Splain, please.
Democratic Speaker Andy Dillon needs 56 votes to cut the budget by
$1.2 billion from state services, but he has lots of defections in the
ranks..lots of defections. Which means to do what he wants to do, he
needs all the republican votes he can get.
For example if all 43 republicans sided with the democratic
speaker he would only need 13 democrats to pass a budget cut. This is
unprecedented: A democratic speaker depending on republicans to move
his agenda.
The proposed $218 cut in per pupil funding in the K-12 system is a
classic example. For over a week that bill has remained on the agenda,
but nary a vote was taken. Dillon could not twist enough democratic
arms to do it and to compound the problem, not all the republicans are
on board either as the education lobby turns up the heat on everyone to
kill that cut.
House members are especially sensitive to the issue because the
Michigan Education Association which spreads around a lot of campaign
contributions is reminding everyone that the spicket will be turned off
if lawmakers turn on the teachers.
Having this leverage over the speaker gives the R's a rare
opportunity to stick a gun to his head and say, "If you want our votes
on your cuts, we want this and that from you in return." It is Monty
Hall time and the republicans are picking the curtains much to Dillon's

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Human Nature

Some times human nature is a wonderful thing to behold as we reach
out to help one another. But sometimes, in the legislative process,
human nature becomes part of the problem and it's not so pretty.
The messy budget scrum unfolding in this town would be exhitibit
A. How in the heck did we get right back where we were two years ago
when a similar budget impasse shut the government down for a few hours?
Everyone claimed they leanred their lesson. Right.
The human incilination to delay tough decisions with foolish hopes
that the problem will somehow go away; the human desire to please
everyone knowing that it's impossible; and the human desire to do the
right thing but not having the guts to really do it. All those human
nature elements are in play big time.
On top of that we often times put off for tomorrow what should
have been done today. Just think of all the time off during the summer
these legislators had. At one stretch from the 4th of July through
most of August, they met only a few times.
To be sure the leaders and the governor were meeting, but there
was no sense of urgency otherwise this budget would have been written
by Labor Day or sooner.
And human nature of another kind is also at work. They are now
talking about stealing more money from the federal stimulus package to
nce this year's budget while ignoring the fact that next year the
budget will be even worse.
Earlier they wanted to set aside $800 million or so for that rainy
day, but now faced with raising taxes on the eve of the 2010 election
has them scrambing to skirt that tough decision which will only result
in tougher decisions next year.
Darn that human nature.

Monday, September 28, 2009

As impossible as it may seem, there could have been a budget
resolution last July when Gov. Jennifer Granholm actually agreed to cut
state spending by $1.1. billion but the senate GOP leader rejected the
offer claiming it was not enough. Note that that offer was just $100
million lower than the number being negotiated right now by Speaker
Andy Dillon and Sen. Mike Bishop.
All of this comes to light as the administration and legislature
bump up against an October first deadline for writing a new budget.
The governor will not confirm any of this but here's how the
story unfolded.
It was a beautiful sunny day on July 23 when the governor
strolled through the farmer's market on the front law of the state
capitol. She had just come out of a budget negotiating session with
Mr. Bishop where the $1.1 billion in cuts were placed on the table by
her for the first time.
A Lansing source reveals, "This solution that they have right now
(was offered) two months ago." The "cuts were close to $1.1 billion
dollars (and) he (Bishop) said it needed to be more."
This source explains the governor's strategy. It is not that she
wanted to cut the budget by that much but she was willing to do it if
Mr. Bishop coughed up more revenue for programs she wanted to salvage.

She wanted to "send everyone out and let them try to reach those
goals." She correctly and instinctively knew they would discover, as
they are discovering at this very moment, that they couldn't do it.
At that point in July, she felt everyone could return to the
table and "talk about where the problems are" and a new budget could be
crafted with fewer cuts. Which coincidently is what they are doing
right now as Bishop raises the targets for some budgets to accommodate
more spending on some state services while looking for new revenue at
the same time.
It's the budget deal that almost was.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

They Call That A Debate

It was the kind of debate, candidates dream about. Lots of time
for long-winded answers and no gnarly follow-up questions from
reporters or opponents. Hence the GOP "debate" for governor at the
Republican Mackinac Island leadership conference was a stroll up the
walk to the Grand Hotel.
If debates are designed to point out differences between
candidates, in this one you would need a telescope to find them.
Here's what we learned. Attorney General Mike Cox has a plan and a
web sight. Congressman Pete Hoekstra thinks Washington should not tell
Michigan what to do. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard has a gun
and lots of experience in the legislative trenches. State Senator Tom
George thinks if he could just get everyone physically healthy, all our
fiscal problems would be solved. And Ann Arbor business guy Rick
Snyder, who's spent $340,000 and has a whopping 2% in the polls
($!70,000 for each point) wants you to know he's not Cox, Hoekstra,
Bouchard, or George…professional politicians one and all.
In fact he lectured the republican faithful in the audience not to
pick the one you like or have known the longest, "pick the most
qualified" and that would be him so he says.
Buried within the 75-minute exchange on WJR radio, there we some
differences of opinion. Cox wants to slash taxes by $2 billion an
d he
supports higher education. Bouchard pointed out you can't have it both
George did not agree with the rest of the pack when they called for
the phasing out of state tax credits to lure business here including
the much Bally-hoed Hollywood film tax credit.
And that was about it.
With a format that allowed for no back and forth, each contender
was free to roam the stage with all their finely honed one liners as
they attacked government, taxes, and state employee benefits.
Surprisingly Gov. Jennifer Granholm got only a few knocks and the
odds on favorite to replace her for the democratic nomination, John
Cherry, got no mention at all. And Barack Obama was all but ignored.
How the heck did that happen?
Maybe next time in a real debate, some hard news and real
differences will emerge. One can hope.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

GOP Debate for Gov.

   It was billed as the first GOP debate for governor, but it was actually the second, but then who's keeping score.  Nonetheless five would be governors consumed about 75 minutes of WJR radio time this weekend and here are some first blush impressions.
   No clear winner. No major goofs. No memorable moment that goes into the history books ala, "I knew John Kennedy and you are no John Kennedy."
   First timer Rick Snyder did a commendable job in getting his message out that he's a business guy and not a professional politician.  But he remains untested because of the format; we have no feel for how he will stand up under some tough questioning from reporters and opponents when the gloves come off, which we know they will.
   Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, unlike Snyder, actually has hands on experience in the legislature noting, "I know how it works." He20dodged one bullet.  He whacked the state's strategy of doling out tax breaks to attract businesses as he wants the "market place to decide" where the jobs go.  Does that mean he opposes the tax breaks that will reopen the Ford Wixom plant in his own backyard? Nobody asked.
   Attorney General Mike Cox did better this time than the last debate on the island.  He was not nearly as hyper and aggressive and hit hard on his plan to revamp Michigan while winning the battle to give out his web address the most times.  Bouchard however clipped the A.G. who said he supported higher education but also wanted a $2 billion tax cut.  The sheriff noted, "You can't cut two billon and fund education."
   Congressman Pete Hoekstra was not as strong this time as he was at the Detroit Chamber debate last May. He did break a story, which no one followed up on in the debate.  He wants to create a tax system with only one tax, the sales tax.  It9 9s a provocative idea.  He took some nice shots at the sitting governor, but he's not running against her.
   State Senator and doctor Tom George sounded like he was running for surgeon general.  It seemed like every answer, even to non-health related questions, came back to his mantra to reform the health care system.  He did stand out from the pack by embracing tax credits to lure jobs and saying tax cuts and smaller government alone would not fix Michigan. And there was something that is almost unheard of at GOP gatherings, he mentioned Flint and Detroit.
   Best line of the event went to Cox.  As time was running out, moderator and class clown L. Brooks Patterson rang a bell to shut Cox off.  Cox winged this response, "Brooks you have a bell. Mike (Sheriff Bouchard) has a gun but I have a plan for Michigan."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fwd: This Thing Could Work

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thu, Sep 24, 2009 6:02 am
Subject: This Thing Could Work

    What a difference two years makes.  In 2007, capitol correspondents were running all over the joint trying to keep an eye on the illusive governor who shuffled from one legislative office to another trying to work a deal to balance the budget and avert the government shutdown.
    Fast-forward to right now.  Alas the governor's role in this current budget struggle appears to have been reduced to issuing press releases from the sidelines through the press secretary.  No one has seen hide or hair of the state's top executive in the midst of all the turmoil this week.
    There's no question Gov. Jennifer Granholm is engaged and is being kept up to date via her budget director, but she's not negotiating with anyone as far as we can tell.  The two guys who run the house and senate have20taken over the task…a rare scene to say the least.
    At this read there are strong signs that the guys, Speaker Andy Dillon (D) and senate GOP leader Mike Bishop may actually pull this off:  Adopting $1.2 billion in budget cuts to balance the books, and then come back next week to raise some new revenue to restore some of the monster cuts adopted this week.
    It's the most unorthodox budget strategy ever seen in this town and it just might work, despite the protestations from the governor and other democrats who don't trust Dillon or Bishop.
    If it works, Dillon's stature goes sky high and chatter about him running for governor will go up with it.  Bishop's role in handling the revenue increase remains a work in progress and how he does it, will impact his bid for state attorney general.
    Another key figure in all this is Rep. George Cushingberry (D-Detroit) who is the guy in the room with the most budget experience and he is using it to push th e all cuts budget with the=2 0trailer revenue increases to follow.
   "Cush", as he is affectionately known in town, is confident all this will work.
     And by the end of next week, a reluctant and bystander governor may have to concede it did.  Talk about your rare scenes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Surprise, surprise

    The frigid cold and harsh reality of slashing $1.2 billion out of critical state services has engulfed the capitol and many lawmakers who talked about cuts are now having second thoughts about actually voting for the cuts.  Surprise. Surprise.
    It was no shock that a self-imposed deadline of 5 p.m. on Tuesday was missed.  An overly optimistic Speaker of the House wanted all 16 budget committees to complete their work by then.  A grand total of three did.
    The other 13, in varying degrees, could not reach a conclusion because of disagreements over all those cuts.
    Still up in the air are reductions in early childhood education, loss of dollars for local cops and firefighters, reductions in health care for the poor and mental health care for the needy, college scholarships, and the hiring of more state troopers.
    To think that all of those can be completed by next Tuesday is a stretch especially since the state senate has decided to take Friday off so some of the GOP senators can head up to a Republican shindig on Mackinac Island.
    They wouldn't?
    Watch them.
    This does not mean a shutdown of government is going to happen. In fact, that can be averted by approving an emergency bill that would give lawmakers 30 more days to do what they so far have been unable to do.
    As they bicker back and forth over cuts and there aren't the votes to do it, lawmakers will be forced to confront another issue they are loathed to tackle as well: Raising more revenue.  Surprise. Surprise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Foolish predictions

         Years ago when you had veteran legislative leaders at the helm, you could pretty much predict which direction the ship of state was headed. That meant if you reported such and such was going to happen on such and such day, you had a 99% shot at being correct.
       As we move into this critical final week of budget negotiations, you'd be stupid to make any predictions about what this relatively inexperienced bunch is going to do.  Oft times they don't know what they are going to do until they actually do it!
       But what they hey, let's be stupid.
(1)         They will not shutdown the government on October first.
(2)          That's because they will adopt an emergency budget that will give everyone 30 days to work out all the budget kinks, just in case they don't get in done early next week.
(3)         There will be a boat load of budget cuts that will produce howls from the cops on the beat to the teachers in the classroom
(4)         However, after they adopt all the cuts and allow the GOP to gloat that it passed a budget without new tax increases, they will come back and raise new revenue to restore some of the cuts they just made.
(5)         Sounds silly doesn't it, but this is the strategy that House Speaker Andy Dillon (D) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) have apparently worked out.  The governor wants no part of the strategy because there is no "guarantee" the R's will pay off on their end of the bargain.
(6)         Republicans are headed to Mackinac Island this coming weekend where about 2,000 bedrock, hard nosed, anti-tax grass roots delegates will gather.  There is no way that any GOP legislator is going to vote for more revenue this week and head up to the island to be accosted by the mob of 2,000 for doing so.
(7)         The national media, includ ing a Washington Post reporter who's been assigned to chronicle the countdown to shutdown, will be disappointed because Michigan will stay open for business.
(8)         And that means Lettermen, Leno, and O'Brien will have only the Lions to pick on in their monologues next week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Odd Woman Out

     The governor took some hits over the weekend for trotting off to Japan while the so-called budget crisis was burning in Lansing.  Some opined it was wrong for her to split. Frankly it was meaningless.  She was back on Monday.
     Besides there was no reason to worry as her two male legislative "partners," as she refers to them, were in charge.  House Speaker Andy Dillon and his sidekick and GOP Senate Leader Mike Bishop have forged a pretty solid working relationship complete with a modicum of mutual respect, which frankly doesn't appear to be the case when it comes to them working with her.
     To underscore this point, the two guys sett led on budget targets and she was not in the room when they did it.
     Nonetheless before she scooted over to the Far East in hopes of bringing back a job or two, democrat Dillon briefed the governor on the plan he was sharing with Bishop.  She said she didn't like it.
    In a nutshell, Dillon wants to find $1.2 billion in cuts that his party can live with. That's what Bishop wants and in return Bishop is supposed to pop some votes for democratic revenue raising bills.
    All of this is now in play but as Dillon puts it, "There is no deal."  Bishop chimed in on WWJ NewsRadio 950 saying "all the elements" are in place for a deal to occur.
    Bishop says he has not seen the house democratic revenue package and won't comment until he does.
     Two years ago, Bishop was on the hot seat being tugged and pulled to allow a vote on an income tax increase. Bishop succumbed, but he's not making those noises now. If there is a vote on new revenue he thinks the GOP caucus will vote on it, "just to kill it."
    From the sidelines the governor is apparently content to let the two guys have at it and if a real deal comes out of it, halleluiah.
     If not, they can always pass an emergency budget creating more time to avert a government shutdown.
    Everyone who is getting sick of this story, raise your hand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do as I say, not as I do

   Business types have been invading the state capitol lately railing on lawmakers and the governor to "reform government now."  That is code for fire more state workers, get those who are left to pay 25% of their health care benefits, get rid of the state police road patrols and on and on and on.
    CEO's and business lobbyists believe they are entitled to make these demands because the private sector has been scaling back for ions and now, they argue, it is time for government to do the same.
    It's very tempting to apply the business model=2 0to government.  After all GM had to lay off 70,000 of its workers, why shouldn't state government fall in line?
    Unfortunately, as much as business guys want government to be run like a business, the reality is, government is not.
    When the profit margin at the Detroit Three falls, they reduce services.
    But when things are at their worse, that is not the time for government to do the same.  In fact it is just the opposite.
    Recall last winter when the unemployed could not get into the state system to file for benefits?  If you applied the "business model", the governor should have laid off more state workers who handled the phones.
    Of course she did not and she ended up hi ring more thus adding to state costs.
    A new business group the other day called for a 10% slice in the state government workforce.
    The employee unions note that 11,000 have already been cut and as one of them put it, "We are past the bone and we are cutting off limbs."
    Are there other areas to cut in state spending?  Yes and those will be coming, but at what point does Michigan become Mississippi and with all due respect to Mississippi, who would want to move here for that?
    So business will continue to harp about reforming government, but when asked the other day how many of the business lobbyists had taken a 25% cut in their health care benefits, none of the hands went up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tom Dangerfield for Governor

Poor ole Tom George.  He is the Rodney Dangerfield of the GOP contest for governor in that he gets no r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
    Some times reporters leave his name off the list of the five candidates running for the nomination.
    And this past week there was the ultimate  insult. He was unceremoniously dumped from a debate because the sponsor wanted more time for the other four contenders.
    The Michigan Taxpayers Alliance run by former GOP right-winger Leon Drolet was picked by the state Republican Party to organize a debate for the party's leadership confab later this month.
    After first being invited, George was notified that because there was only an hour allotted for the exchange, he was being asked to drop out.
     George rightfully came unglued and two of his opponents came to his defense.  Congressman Peter Hoekstra and Ann Arbor business guy Rick Snyder complained to the GOP chairman.
     What kind of democracy is this, they wondered?
     To his credit chairman Ron Weiser came to his senses and when the dust settled George, the Kalamazoo state senator, was back on the stage with everyone else.
     The reason George is having a tough time is that he's virtually unknown, has no real base of support on which to build a campaign, and he's not likely to raise millions of dollars to lend credibility to his effort.  But this is  not to say he's not a good candidate because he is.  He has a firm grasp of the issues, has a solid record in the Michigan Senate and is not a conservative nut case.  In other words , he deserves respect but his chances of winning are right down there with the Lions.
    But all is not lost. Assuming he does not pull off a miracle and gain the GOP nomination, he is effectively auditioning for the second spot on the ticket, which ain't all bad for a guy who is being treated like Rodney D.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

R U A Texting Driver?

  To text while driving or not to text while driving.
  Let's be blunt, that should not be the question.  There is no choice.
  Later this month, a house committee here will consider legislation to ban texting while driving. The sponsor wants to slap a $100 fine on the practice, which is really chump change, but here is the killer: Rep. Gino Polidori also wants two-points added to your driving record if you get nabbed.
   Now he has everyone's attention including the committee chair who is not so sure what she will support…and where she lands will be critical to the outcome of this life-saving debate.
    Polidori wants to make this a primary offense meaning the cops can haul you over for fiddling with your blackberry while you should be concentrating on the road.
   Chairwoman Rep. Pam Byrnes favors making it a secondary offense e.g. you have to run a red light or violated some other traffic law before you get ticketed for texting.
   The Chelsea democrat is also leery about the two-point penalty.  Without that and the primary status the texting ban will be next to useless..
   Years ago when they passed the seat belt law, it was a secondary offense and about 70% of the motorists obeyed the law.  As soon as they slapped on the primary offense, usage skyrocketed to over 95%.
   Doesn't everyone agree that seat belts saves lives?
   Doesn't everyone agree that texting while driving can save the life of the texter and maybe even your life if he or she slams into your car?
    Byrnes says she is not sure the ban is enforceable and some law enforcement types have shared the same concern with Polidori.
    He says this is simple:  If the cops see somebody with their hand off the wheel and their head looking down, pull them over.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Somebody save the State Fair

        At 10 p.m. on Monday night the carnival trucks will haul away the rides, the farmers will pack up their livestock and head for greener pastures, and a tradition that began in 1849 will come to an unceremonious end.
        Or will they really kill the Michigan State Fair?
        All the published reports over this past weekend did everything but kick some dirt on the grave declaring it dead, caput, history.
        Not so fast.
        Sure it does not look good as an October 1st date for boarding up the joint draws nye, but what the papers missed was the llth hour behind the scene maneuvering.
     A 0 "I'm optimistic," beams Mark Gaffney who chairs the soon to be mothballed Michigan State Fair Commission unless he can pull this one off.
     Seems Gaffney and other fair enthusiasts have quietly been talking to the Palace of Auburn Hills and Mike Ilitch of Pizza, Pizza fame.
     "No one is coming to the table yet," Gaffney reports but he is not tossing in the towel either.
      Gaffney is begging the governor to give him just a little more time, but Gov. "I-have-to-shut-the-fair-cause-I-have-no-money" won't budge.
      "It's a chicken and the egg," Gaffney laments expressing major frustration with his governor.  She wants a deal before she grants a stay of execution, but Gaffney needs more time to get the deal.
=C 2     His hope is to convert the 16 4-acre fair grounds into a year around venue with the revenue from that used to reassemble the fair next year.
     Here's the irony.  It will cost the state about $300,000 to maintain the status quo while the search for a savior continues.  It would cost $700,000 to shuttle the place, so some say why not take a gamble.
    The governor appears to be in no gambling mood even though  she has professed to be very pro-Detroit, which of course where the fair grounds are.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let The Guy Talk For Heaven's Sake

Michigan House members get paid a tidy some of moola and part of their job is to debate the issues. House Republicans argue they are more than willing to debate but the democrats are shutting them off.
"We've had a issue throughout the year. We've had difficulty getting that voice heard," gripes the guy who runs the House GOP caucus.
Since January Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer (R- Kewadin) has been trying to play nice with his democratic counterpart House Speaker Andy Dillon. Frankly it's been a refreshing break from the Dillon/Craig DeRoche relationship which was hardly a match made in heaven. Just ask Dillon about the fo rmer Oakland County House GOP honcho.
But Elsenheimer's patience is frazzled and it showed the other day on the floor as he had an exchange" with the democratic floor leader. Rep. Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee) told him that Oakland County Rep. Tom McMillan would be muzzled during debate over the Ford Wixom plant revival tax credit.
McMillan wanted to dump on the project. He never got the chance, but after repub licans griped, Angerer and company relented and allowed one republican to actually debate the $100 million tax break on the floor.
After Rep. Justin Amash (R-Kentwood) spoke for about five minutes, the debate was over, the house passed the bill and Elsenheimer was left to count the tire treads on his back from the Democratic truck that just ran him over...again.
He warns that September is going to be a tough month with the budget crunch and government shutdown loaming and the way he figures it, these "petty issues" might get in the way of bipartisan cooperation on turning the state's red ink into black.
Wise man that Mr. Elsenheimer.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Less than a month to go

 The governor gave already jittery state workers the other day a thirty-day notice that will add to their jitters.  She notified them the government could shutdown by the end of the month.
    Never mind that the governor, according to the contract, had to do it. And never mind that the  front office tries to diminish the impact by reassuring everyone that this budget thing will get worked out on time.
    It was still a scary notification.
   "I don't think it is necessary to come to that," intones Rich Studley who runs the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
    What if it's a choice between boosting taxes and closing government, what would you favor?
    "I don't think that will be the choice," his Pollyanna analysis continues.
     While others have taken swipes at the legislative Big Three, Speaker Andy Dillon, Senate GOP leader Mike Bishop and her Honor the governor, Studley says, "We have confidence in our leaders" but he references Bishop and Dillon only.
     Interestingly two week earlier on statewide Public TV, Studley was bemoaning the "lack of leadership" in Lansing which prompts one to ask, which is it?
     As for a possible shutdown of government as some are beginning to hint at, Studley says, "I think we all lose.  It reflects poorly on the governor and lt. governor.  It reflects poorly on both parties and it will reflect poorly on the state."
     But dollars to donuts there are some of you out there in newspaper land who would not object if government went away. Go ahead and raise your hands.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Drill, baby, drill

     We haven't really had a dandy red-hot environmental issue to kick around for a long time…until now.
      Seems the oil boys are looking at harvesting more stuff from underneath the Pigeon River region and elsewhere to the tune 230 million barrels and once the environmental folks get in the game, the fur could fly.
      For you old-timers, you'll recall that the giant oil companies during the Milliken administration back in the 70's made the same pitch.  Former First Lady Helen Milliken took on big oil and turned it into a real us vs. them donnybrook.  When the dust settled, a scaled back exploration program was launched and continues to this day with apparently no major impact on the Elk herd, other vermin and the forests.
      Greased with new and supposedly safer technology, the oil guys are back for another bite of the apple and this time they are dangling a nifty $1 billion jackpot in front of a cash-strapped state. Rep. Mike Simpson (D-Jackson) is hoping to find some takers.
     In fact he and one of his buddies are fix'in, perhaps as early as this week, to stick in the Department of Natural Resources budget bill, language that would create a five month pilot program using existing wells already in production.
     With this updated equipment, Simpson says they will use the present well heads, stick some pipes underground and "spider web out" to the liquid gold.
     The first blush reaction from the Greens was not unexpected.  They wanted no part of it no how, no way.
     Simpson has not made his pitch yet but he'll have to convert them and the DNR director who told a house committee recently, she is not signing off either. 
     The=2 0governor on the other hand has asked for a White Paper although she expressed concerns about the Pigeon River, too.
     So grab a good seat folks.  Here we go with another round of economic growth vs. protecting the natural resources which make Michigan what it is.
     Anybody got Ms. Milliken's phone number?