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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.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gutless In Lansing

Profiles in courage this ain't. An example of pretty sharp
politics, it is.
Faced with a $255 cut per pupil, lawmakers who profess that
education is their top priority, are in a box.
The governor wants them to expand the sales tax to services to
raise the funds to avert the cut, but in an election year, voting for
anything that even smells like a tax hike is verboten. But yet those
same salons run the risk of offending mom and dad back home if their
little Johnny or Janey ends up in a classroom with 50 of their closest
friends.
What's a poor legislator to do? It's a lose-lose which lawmakers
loathe-loathe.
Here's what they will do: Punt.
Quietly unfolding out of view is a scheme to place the sales tax
question on the August ballot and here's the beauty of the move: If
voters approve the sales tax change, the schools are saved. If the
voters reject the sales tax and $255 is sliced from every school kid,
it's the voters who are to blame and not the lawmakers.
"We didn't't cut education, you did," willl be the defensive rally
cry of lawmakers seeking to save their own political necks this
election cycle.
Pretty nifty, hey!
"I think lawmakers should have the courage to do this," the
governor advised the weary legislators the other day. Easy for her to
say, she is not running for anything this time out.
But alas, she adds, if they can't muster that courage, she would
not stand in the way of allowing the citizens to take the lawmakers off
the hook.
So far there is not a consensus to take this escape route, but
knowing these guys and gals, it's only a matter of time before they do
the math and pawn this puppy off on you. Arf. Arf.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I saw that coming the minute it was raised in the papers. If the do put it to a vote of the people, it would raise a good argument to go to a part-time legislature. Why not? We're already doing their job for them.

March 25, 2010 at 7:13 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the education of our children is indeed the #1 priority then why was it funded dead last in the governor's budget proposal after $2.5 billion in increased services to the Human Services spending? The deficit needing a tax increase is not caused by school funding but a huge expansion of services and the addition of state employees. It is unbelievable that a request to grow the budget and increase employment is even proposed in this state at a time of such deep struggle.

It is time the Legislature take this hot patatoe and slice it wide open for everyone to hear what is really going on:
1. freeze the Human Services budget at 2010 budget levels. This is not a cut it is just saying no to the huge expansion.
2. Increase school funding $600 million.
3. Bank the $400 million SURPLUS.

When the accusations start to fly about how 'oh, so and so does not support Michigan families by saying no to more assistance' the retort can easilly be..."what about the working families that will lose their jobs through an irresponsible tax hike in a down and still decreasing economy for us in SE Michigan."

How about instead of telling us about the gutless legislature and instead we hear about the shady politics going on with the overall budget?

Tell us about this $2.5 billion expansion and how it will benefit the education of my children.

Tell us about how adding more at the State Board of Education will help my kids.

Tell me why the State Police budget has to be cut and the prisons emptied so 'kids' can be considered kids until they are 20.

Now tell us why the education, a nice juicy service everyone wants, needs to be the item that gets cut as an offset to saying no to more taxes.

March 25, 2010 at 9:17 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The deficit needing a tax increase is not caused by school funding but a huge expansion of services and the addition of state employees."

Lies. The increase is to meet the increased demand for services from families badly in need of help. What planet are you living on that believes that the need for assistance hasn't increased?

March 25, 2010 at 9:46 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for admitting that school funding is not our #1 budget item after all.

Actually, I am on the same planet. Let me explain:
- 3 friends have lost their jobs in the last 2 weeks.
- 6 additional friends have lost their jobs in the last 6 months.
- Stores and restaurants are closing at an alarming rate...have you noticed?
- Employment losses are accelerating at an alarming rate; see for yourself at www.bls.gov.

And guess what? Nobody cares.

So you have personally changed my mind about holding the line on taxes. I want a 10% cut now. That will put money in people's pockets to keep their homes, buy things at the store, and go out to eat once a year or so.

Thanks for the suggestion!

March 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM 

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