Mar 13, 2007

Top Secret Senate GOP budget plan ignores advice of Wall Street

Standard & Poors, one of the top Wall Street rating agencies in the country, said in a report Monday that Michigan could see further declines in its credit rating if the Legislature does not get off the dime and address the structural budget deficits facing the state, according to a report by the subscription only Gongwer News Service.

Isn’t that what the governor has been saying for months?

The report, called "Prompt Action Key to Improving Michigan Credit Outlook,” went on to say that this is the most critical legislative session in a decade, and it said Michigan's outlook could return to stable if the Legislature passes a tax restructuring package and acts on other structural budget issues. Standard & Poors already had the state on a negative credit outlook, the only state it has ranked as such.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) said the report indicates more bad news for the state if action isn't taken soon, but he said the 2006-07 budget still should be resolved with cuts.

Yet Bishop and the Senate Republicans continue to play politics and hide their top-secret budget plan from the public.

As you recall, the Senate Republicans rejected the Governor’s Executive Order of Feb. 8 that addressed the $3 billon budget shortfall without a plan of their own. The EO would address the shortfall with a mix of cuts in spending, enacting a 2 penny tax on services that will cost the average tax payer about $1.33 a week and increasing taxes on such unhealthy items that cost millions in health care, such as cigarettes and liquor.

The Senate plan is still the most closely-guarded secret in a town full of journalists and reports, pundits, staffers and politicians, and the Senate GOP continues to play politics by keeping the plan secret. Their plan calls for just cuts and one-time accounting tricks and gimmicks to try and balance the budget instead of addressing the structural problem that got the state a negative credit rating. Legislative offices have been flooded with letters, phone calls and emails urging them not to enact the cuts the Governor has proposed, and that’s one reason the GOP plan is so secret

This is exactly what the Republicans did last summer in a cheap, blatant campaign ploy by eliminating the Single Business Tax early, and it also caused the state a drop in its credit rating. The lack of a known business tax is keeping companies from moving to Michigan because of the uncertainly.

Call Sen. Bishop at (517) 373-2417 and urge him to make his secret plan public and available to the people who will pay the freight: the citizens.

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