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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, October 26, 2009

The Power of Education

At the end of this historic battle, we'll know how much juice the
state's education lobby really has and whether Gov. Jennifer Granholm
is a wounded lame duck.
The governor rolled the dice last week in a gutsy move to round up
some GOP senate votes to raise new revenue for the schools. She
announced a whopping $292 cut per pupil across the state. Republicans
blamed her for for trying to force them to cough up the bucks.
That's exactly what she was doing and the Senate GOP leader labeled
it a form of political extortion. Which, by the way, is not illegal.
Just ask former GOP Gov. John Engler who raised political extortion
during his tenure to an art form.
The massive and well-heeled and supposedly influential school lobby
standing behind the governor 1000%.
She has launched a road show taking her into major school
districts, holding closed door meetings with superintendents, parents,
and teachers urging them to get into the game. She then emerges and
gets some free coverage from the media which serves to underscore the
urgency of her message.
But the troops she is trying to rally, can they arm-twist enough
senate R's for more money to reduce that hefty $292 cut?
The education lobby was very successful in blocking an earlier
$218 slice out of the per pupil funding formula; it forced lawmakers to
reduce that to $165.
And the senate Republicans gave some ground on finding new dollars
to pay for the reduction. But can they be brow-beaten into doing it
The governor is gambling the answer is yes as she goes one on
one, behind closed doors, with republican senators who may be
sympathetic to her revenue plea.
Asked the other day how many R votes she had, she said she didn't
But with the education lobby helping her to turn up the heat, she
hopes to net three, four maybe even five GOP defections.
When the dust settles, we'll know how powerful it and she really


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