I’m calling it right now.
Republicans will get a budget passed without a road funding measure.
The Michigan Republican leadership is working on passing a bunch of budget bills without road funding, hoping Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer will cave.
I have hope she won’t cave. Whitmer professed to being a fighter in the campaign, although her enthusastic support to sign the Republican-friendly auto insurance “reform” bill into law was somewhat telling.
But I hope she’ll hold the line on road funding since we all know Republicans will do everything in her power to stop her from ever passing one of her biggest–perhaps the biggest–campaign promises.
Because, that’s how Republicans–Michigan and national–Republicans roll. They keep getting rewarded for blocking policies people chose in the ballot box.
Then, I came across this little news item recently, and it once again illustrated that Republicans don’t have to lift a finger to blunt Governor Whitmer.
They have Democrats to do that for them!
Zachary Gorchow from Gongwer reported the following, and it made me cringe:
The quote from House Minority Leader Chris Greig (D-Farmington Hills) last week about the 45-cent fuel tax increase proposal from Governor Gretchen Whitmer – Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer – was almost too startling to believe.
Our reporter who was at the press event on a separate topic featuring Ms. Greig and several House Democrats immediately came into my office upon returning and told me Ms. Greig had called the governor’s proposal “probably the extreme that won’t happen.” We listened to the audio. Yes, Ms. Greig – ostensibly one of Ms. Whitmer’s most important allies in the Legislature – had referred to the linchpin in the governor’s plan to raise $2.1 billion more for roads as “extreme.” She had said the plan was likely dead.
Reporters around the Capitol wondered if perhaps she meant something else. She was discussing the subject in response to a question of what would happen if Republicans, who control the House, were to put the 45-cent per gallon tax increase on the voting board in a stunt to put Democrats in the position of voting for a tax increase that will not happen or voting against it and snubbing their governor. Maybe she meant the tactic would be “extreme”?
Ms. Greig then spoke to reporters at the Capitol as the House convened for session and reaffirmed her comments. She had said what we thought she had said.
This was shocking in one sense because Ms. Greig had publicly put the proverbial final nail in the coffin of the 45-cent per gallon tax increase.
Gorchow speculated if we’re witnessing the second coming of a Jennifer Granholm-Andy Dillon discord from last decade. That Democrats ever allowed a guy like Dillon to become House Speaker shows how lost the Democrats were back then.
Look, I think Greig is a bit more liberal than Andy Dillon, no doubt. But that’s not saying much.
The point of this podcast is to call it as I see it. I’ve been attacked on social media by other liberals whenever I attack Democrats. They think I should never attack my side.
Well, that’s not how I operate. I have to be honest with myself, and honest with you. So, if that means I anger some fellow liberals out there for speaking some truth, then so be it.
Democrats, in general, suck at messaging. Not all Democrats, mind you. But the party apparatus tends to suck at messaging.
Messaging is an important part of legislating. And it doesn’t help Governor Whitmer if one of the Democratic Party’s leaders describes her major legislative plank as “extreme.”
It also doesn’t help that she doubled-down on that assertion!
I know, the odds of a 45-cent gas tax passing were slim considering the state legislature is under gerrymandered Republican power. Hell, the odds of Whitmer’s gas tax passing with Democrats in control was slim-to-none.
The purpose of Whitmer’s gas tax was to educate Michiganders on how extreme our situation is here in Michigan. Thanks to disastrous Republican policies of running the state on the cheap in order to give lavished handouts to its rich donor base, Michigan’s roads and schools are in shambles.
Why isn’t Minority Leader Greig joining the Governor in that education movement. This is the time for Democrats to show some freakin’ backbone for once and FIGHT BACK against the failed Republican orthodoxy that’s infected some of the Lansing political media class.
Rather than calling Whitmer’s gas tax proposal extreme, why isn’t Greig constantly pushing how Whitmer and the Democratic Party proposed raising the Earned Income Tax Credit to help alleviate the gas tax proposal.
Hell, it was the Republicans and Rick Snyder who CUT the EITC years ago!
Why not push that case?
The GOP is in a losing situation. The people voted for change in Michigan.
As Susan Demas from Michigan Advance adroitly notes , Governor Whitmer is the one who won by a landslide in 2018, not the Republicans. Yet, Republicans–or as Demas calls them–BIG GOVERNMENT REPUBLICANS–don’t care about what the people want. Republicans think they know better.
That is why they’re fighting to reverse the anti-gerrymandering commission we voted to enact OVERWHELMINGLY in 2018! That’s why Republicans voted to water-down popular voter-driven proposals to raise the minimum wage and require sick leave for workers.
And now, Michigan Republicans are working to separate road funding from the overall budget in the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1.
You know what? Republicans will get their wish. They will win.
Because Democrats always refuse to go on OFFENSE! They play constant defense. And like the Detroit Lions, many Michigan Democrats aren’t playing an aggressive, attacking defense. Nope! They play prevent defense, and when they end up losing when the clock reads zero, they wonder, “How’d we lose, again?
They lose because of statements made by the Democratic Party’s Minority Leader. Greig is playing defense. Perhaps that’s because she’s used to playing defense. She’s not used to attacking the Republicans and putting their failed policies on display for everyone to see.
We just had a decade in which the national economy improved under Barack Obama, yet Michigan continues to have the worst roads, schools, and government transparency!
Oh, and there’s that little issue of the Flint Water Crisis. That’s the poster child of what happens when the Republican “let’s run government on the cheap” mantra is an epic failure!
It’s so easy for Democrats to go on offense against Republicans.
In that same piece, Demas reminds all of us how Republicans have failed Michigan:
Republicans have argued that there’s no budget crisis, unlike in 2007 and 2009, the last time Michigan went into brief partial shutdowns. But there’s zero reason to adopt their frame. Yes, we had budget deficits, thanks to a decade-long recession, but it was also due to irresponsible GOP policy, like throwing out the state business tax in 2006 with no replacement. (You probably don’t know that because even many senior members of the Capitol press corps weren’t around for those fights).
And boneheaded GOP policy is why we have a failed state today. They keep bleating that we don’t need significantly more money for schools as they’re crumbling and kids continue to flounder. They keep insisting that we can fund infrastructure on the cheap, even while their business group allies plead with them that our pothole-pocked roads are driving away investment.
This is a slam dunk for Democrats. But as usual, they mess it up.
Instead of going on CONSTANT ATTACK against extreme Republican policies and orthodoxy, Greig instead calls her own governor’s policies, extreme?
Oh, and Michigan conservatives are having an absolute ball with this:
During the campaign, Whitmer described a possible 20-cent gas tax hike as “ridiculous.” Now in office, her plan to hike it by 45 cents and make Michigan’s the highest gas tax in the country is opposed by 75% of the public. The Dem House Minority Leader called it “extreme.” pic.twitter.com/1SuUaOYUcz— Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) September 9, 2019
Mark my words: Republicans will win the budget fight by making sure road funding isn’t part of it.
To those Michigan progressives out there listening to this podcast (especially Millennial and Generation Z Michiganders), please consider getting into the game. I’ve interviewed several younger Michiganders who simply ran on a platform of better health care, better infrastructure, better education, better government accountability, better representation for minority rights, better representation for women’s rights and health, and better representation for Michigan’s overall future.
And these young people (I call them young because they’re younger than me) like State Representatives Jon Hoadley and Laurie Pohutsky, state senators like Mallory McMorrow, or activists like Julia Pulver, have created a blueprint for the future of the Democratic Party.
They actually fight back. They actually push for strong progressive values that will save Michigan from decades upon decades of Republican rule. They’re tired of seeing Michigan flounder.
They’re tired of losing.
We’re all tired of losing.
But until we decide it’s time to change the key players in this game, we’ll keep losing.