Aug 18, 2009
Bishop emulates Yogi Berra
LANSING – Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop’s, R-Rochester, actions on the current Michigan budget remind many of the words of a famous philosopher when he said, “It's like deja-vu, all over again.”
Bishop has already been called out by veteran Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick for speaking out of both sides of his mouth and saying one thing to the press and another in the closed-door budget negotiations between the Governor and the Speaker of the House. He loves to play to the press and the public, and he seems to do it the year before the election so Republicans can campaign on it. In 2007 his draconian budget cuts would have cost some 600 state employees their jobs. He has been campaigning for Attorney General from the Senate floor for the past two years.
But he knew in 2007 that House Democrats would have to be the adults and do the right and responsible thing and introduce tax increases to avoid the brief government shutdown we had in 2007. He had hopes to use that to help win back the House in 2008, but it fail miserably because voters saw through the sham.
But he is at it again this year. Last week, according to subscription only Gongwer, Bishop mouthpiece Matt Marsden said the Republican caucus is open to discussing tax changes, but not general tax increases, and that the House would have to act first on any such measure.
Gee, I wonder when we head that before? Of course the House will have to do the responsible thing and again take the heat for Republicans. Somebody has to be the grown up.
House Speaker Andy Dillon. D-Redford, responded without the help of a mouthpiece, saying “They made the same demand in 2007 and also dictated what was acceptable which led to the disastrous Michigan Business Tax surcharge that is hurting businesses across the state. Any budget solution is going to have to be worked in a bipartisan way and both chambers - including the State Senate - are going to have to shoulder responsibility, not just seek ways to avoid them."
Marsden is paid well to be snarky, rude and misleading, and he doesn’t miss a beat; dismissing the comment as “more typical Dillon rhetoric." He said unlike the House, the Senate has passed budget bills that are balanced and that available revenues could support. "We're out there with what our proposal is, like it or not," he said.
The Senate plans to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class, and among the cuts the Senate has approved and are being roundly criticized include cutting Medicaid services, such as chiropractic, adult dental, optometric services and some community mental health funding; eliminated the Alzheimer’s Outreach Program; eliminated the $4.7 million for the state’s 78 Child and Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) Program sites; $18 million in cuts from the Healthy Michigan Fund and a 8 percent cut to Medicaid providers; eliminated the Michigan Promise Scholarship; a $110 cut in the per student foundation grant, eliminated School Readiness grants and Early Childhood funding; and a 12 percent cut to local revenue sharing.