May 11, 2009

GOP staffer may be in trouble for telling the truth

LANSING -- Another Michigan Senate GOP staffer may be in danger of losing their job for daring to tell the truth.

Last week Senate Republicans finally moved the package of bills known as the Hire Michigan First legislation, but they stripped the teeth out of the bills like they did the foreclosure bills. A GOP analyst for the Senate produced an analysis of the bills, according to subscription only MIRS, that said the package "won't have much real impact," but will get the Senate Democrats off their backs on an issue that could play poorly politically if left to fester.“ In other words, instead of trying to help Michigan’s economy they did it for purely political reasons.

According to MIRS, the spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus said the document was the analysis of one person from the policy staff. The analysis was produced at the request of Senators, and the document by analyst Jamie Clover Adams represents the individual personal policy view of the analyst.

You will recall last month Senate Republican consultant Dennis Darnoi wrote a white paper that looked at why Republicans have lost in the last couple of elections, and it said they cannot expect a backlash against the party in control to win in 2010. A couple of weeks later, the services of Mr. Darnoi - the former Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop - were no longer required.

I hope Ms. Adams has her resume updated.

The 19-bill Hire Michigan First package was approved by the House in March, but Senate Republicans resisted efforts to pass the package.

The bills simply say a company that gets tax breaks and money from Michigan tax payers must hire Michigan workers when ever possible. The version the House Democrats passed rewards companies that employ 100 percent Michigan workers with state economic development incentives. The 12-bill package also encourages transparency and accountability by requiring companies that accept incentives to report on who they hire to ensure that Michigan residents are put first. The package also cracks down on companies that hire undocumented workers by creating penalties that include requiring them to pay back their tax incentives and barring them from future state contracts.

“It’s not enough to just see products that say, 'Made in Michigan,’ we want our products, buildings and bridges to be made by Michigan,“ said Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, a lead sponsor of the Senate package. “That’s why I fought for this issue every chance I got, and it’s why I will continue to push for the elements of this plan that weren’t included in today’s vote.”

Senate Democrats also tried to correct loopholes in the bills inserted by Republicans that will make it easier for companies to not hire Michigan workers. Additionally, three bills in the package have yet to see any Senate action:

Senate Bill 289, a bill that would change the current law requiring vendors who contract with the state to hire not less than 50 percent of Michigan residents to 100 percent of Michigan residents.

Senate Bill 288, a bill that would allow Michigan to cancel a contract or stop payment under a contract to a vendor who knowingly hires illegal aliens or who knowingly violates Michigan's Prevailing Wage Law.

This one makes no sense to me. Conservatives rail against the individual illegal immigrant crossing the border just to earn more money than he can’t earn in his own country, but they continue to refuse to hold the company responsible that hires them illegally, and creates the demand and makes huge profits accountable.

Senate Bill 291, a bill that requires vendors under state contract to report on the number of new jobs created under the contract and the number of Michigan residents hired on that project.

“You have weakened the provisions that protect the wages and the jobs here in Michigan,” said Senate Democratic Leader Mike Prusi, D- Ishpeming. “We have had a long tradition here in Michigan of fairness as it applies to jobs and the wages that are paid on these jobs when they are jobs under state contracts.”

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