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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


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