I wanted to be wrong, but I had a feeling Michigan Republicans would claim victory in stopping Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer from fixing the roads.
As I wrote earlier, thanks to the knee-capping of Whitmer’s road funding plan by the House Democratic leader Chris Greig, the Democrats were going to cave-in to Republican demands and pass a fiscal year budget sans a road funding plan.
Like clockwork, it happened.
Riley Beggin from The Bridge Magazine:
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to put aside negotiations on how to raise $2.5 billion annually in revenue for the state’s roads and infrastructure.
This is the first time Whitmer, a Democrat, has publicly changed her position on the centerpiece of her budget — she has previously said she would veto any budget plan that doesn’t include some way to raise the massive amount of funding necessary to fix the state’s battered roads and bridges.
In a joint statement with Republican leaders Sen. Mike Shirkey and Rep. Lee Chatfield Monday, Whitmer said: “The people of Michigan deserve leadership in Lansing that will work to continue providing them with services they depend on every day. In conversations over the weekend, we’ve agreed that the best course of action is to immediately begin target-setting with legislative and executive leadership to get a budget passed by October 1st.”
It’s another example of Democratic leadership failing to fight for their so-called priorities.
I had some kind of foolish belief that Governor Whitmer went along with the horrific GOP-led auto insurance “reform” bill as a negotiating tactic to get something passed on road funding.
It turns out the Republicans gave her nothing.
Nick Manes from Michigan Advance notes that Whitmer is trying to knock-down any assertion that she and Democratic legislative leaders acquiesced to GOP pressure:
“I’d say that there are a lot of people who probably think that this is an easy job who don’t understand the ramifications of what a shutdown would mean,” Whitmer said after a speech in Grand Rapids.
“[People] who think that the Republicans have shown any seriousness in solving the road problem … unfortunately, they would be misinformed if that was their conclusion. The fact of the matter is, a shutdown would be catastrophic for a lot of people that are counting on us to get this done, and I’m not willing to play games with people’s lives.”
So, essentially, Whitmer’s rewarding the GOP for threatening to shut down the government.
If it’s that easy, then why would Republicans agree to work with Whitmer on anything else in the near future?
C’mon! This is a joke!
The Governor ceded the high ground! Republicans had nothing to give. They had nothing to offer on roads!
The Governor earlier said she’d veto any budget bill–any budget!–that didn’t include a serious road funding plan.
But now, she’s backed-off that suppose “demand.”
And according to Nick Manes, Whitmer wouldn’t say if she got assurances from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, or House Speaker Lee Chatfield, that they’d even negotiate a road funding deal in the future!
This is unbelievably frustrating for all Michiganders, but especially for progressives who came out in droves in 2018 to change course.
Yes, I get it. Right wing Republicans with their right wing Chamber of Commerce backers gerrymandered Michigan to ensure a GOP majority.
But you’ve got to show you’re willing to fight for your causes. Democratic legislative leaders decided to spend more time attacking Whitmer’s gas tax plan than by explaining to the people of Republican policies led to our state’s decrepit conditions. They refused to explain how the Governor’s plan called for increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The Democratic leadership in Lansing let us down. There are many Democrats in Lansing who are fighting for the popular positions they pushed in 2018. And we’ve got a terrific Attorney General, who isn’t frightened by the right wing in Michigan.
This is so typical of how so many old-time Democrats think.
We’re not in the 1990’s anymore! Stop playing defense and start fighting back!