Archive for the ‘Battle Creek’ Category

Live Analysis of Governor Granholm’s Michigan State of the State Address

February 3, 2009

The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin.  I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).

Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since  it’s bigger).

Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?”  I said, “Right there.”  And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”

Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats.  There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.

There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).

She’s saying welcome and thank you.  She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.

She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year.  And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.

Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.

We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.

“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.”  She’s absolutely right about that.  “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”

“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”

Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda.  I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.”  BULL CRAP!

She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people.  COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!

“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.”  True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.

“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.”  Really?  Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills.  What’s to stop three more?

She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone.  Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.

Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.”  Good point there – I’ll give her that one.

Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%.  That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.

“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”

She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country.  I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.

She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government.  GOOD CALL!

Talking about preserving our wetlands.

Talking about reducing corrections spending.  We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months.  Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street.  More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!

Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!

We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.

We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry.  When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.

Talking about the green auto industry being great.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000.  “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.”  Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.

Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.

Three major announcements:

  • Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
  • Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
  • Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)

Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs.  That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.

“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.”  Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.

Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.”  And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.

She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that  and nuclear power).

Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.

She’s getting really intense about this.  “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”

We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.

We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan.  Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan.  5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.

She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.

She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.

  • 3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
  • Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
  • HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
  • Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
  • Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)

“We all know that  we need more jobs – a lot more.”  I agree with you there.

President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy.  This will increase jobs in Michigan.

“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.”  Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high.  I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices.  But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.

Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.

Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company.  Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.

Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products.  Good.

Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.

Create Michigan Energy Corps – creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.

Saying that we’ll need less coal power  plants here in Michigan.

I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.

Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs.  Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far.  You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.

Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan.  I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money.  How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).

Saying people should buy Michigan products.  Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.

Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students.  Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.

Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale.  Something about free education, and I missed the rest.

#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom.  How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?

No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years.  Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians.  52,000 people.  Helping us to remake Michigan.

Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!

Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year.  The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?

Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure.  That’s absolutely insane.  If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.

Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance.  Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.

She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers.  That should be up to the companies, not the government.

Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending.  We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care!  She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.”  Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor.  That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments.  When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor?  He didn’t!  He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!

And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well?  I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!

“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?”  Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.

She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.

Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”

OK – I’m back.

Talking about hope and strength.  “We together will build a better Michigan.  God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”

Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs.  He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.

She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government.  I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it.  Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of  mandating it.

And now Mike Bishop’s response:

He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”

“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”

Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.”  The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.

The House must pass Senate Bill 1.  Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.

Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.

The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values.  Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created.  This would spur the housing market.  And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.

Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!

We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.”  Absolutely!

Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”

Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! ::

Michigan Legislature to Vote on Making It Harder to Raise Taxes

April 18, 2008

On April 15th, the Michigan Senate voted down Senate Joint Resolution L, “A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution of 1963, by amending section 26 of article IV, to provide for concurrence of 2/3 of the members of each house to make certain modifications to certain taxes.”

There bill was defeated 24-12, with 2 not voting.  26 would be needed for the resolution to pass.  The following are those that voted for the resolution (sponsors in bold; party cross-overs in italics): Jason Allen (R-Traverse City), Glenn Anderson (D-Westland), Jim Barcia (D-Bay City), Patricia Birkholz (R-Saugatuck Township), Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), Cameron Brown (R-Fawn River Township), Nancy Cassis (R-Novi), Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt), Valde Garcia (R-Howell), Thomas George (R-Kalamazoo), Judson Gilbert (R-Algonac), Bill Hardiman (R-Kentwood), Mark Jansen (R-Gaines Township), Ron Jelinek (R-Three Oaks), Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Townshi) (primary sponsor), Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland), Michelle McManus (R-Leland), John Pappageorge (R-Troy), Bruce Patterson (R-Canton), Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond), Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek), Tony Stamas (R-Midland), and Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Muskegon).

Those voting against the resolution: my Senator Ray Basham (D-Taylor), Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor), Deborah Cherry (D-Burton), Irma Clarke-Coleman (D-Detroit), Hansen Clark (D-Detroit), John Gleason (D-Grand Blanc), Dennis Olshove (D-Warren), Mike Prusi (D-Ishpeming), Martha Scott (D-Highland Park), Michael Switalski (D-Roseville), Samuel Thomas (D-Detroit), and Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing).

Those not voting: Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) and Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods).

The resolution is expected to be reintroduced some time next week.  I really think that it will pass, since a lot of the protest against this resolution was that it was a last minute resolution and the Senators should have more time to look it over.  All the Republicans need is 2 more, and I think that they’ll get that.  I HOPE that they’ll get that, and I hope that it’ll pass the House.

Here’s a copy of the floor summary of the resolution:

Senate Joint Resolution L (as introduced)
Sponsor: Senator Roger Kahn, M.D.


The joint resolution proposes an amendment to Article IV, Section 26 of the State Constitution to provide that a bill to expand the base of services subject to a tax imposed on their proceeds could not become law without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house.

If two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house approved the joint
resolution, it would have to be submitted to the voters at the next general election.

Legislative Analyst: Suzanne Lowe


There is no way to estimate the potential fiscal impact of this proposed constitutional amendment, but it definitely would make it more difficult to increase a tax on services.

At the present time, 16 states impose “supermajority” requirements to increase state taxes. Of these states, nine enacted their supermajority requirement in the 1990s and one state adopted its in 2000. The size of the supermajorities required vary: Five states require a three-fifths vote (Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oregon); eight states require a two-thirds vote (Arizona, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, South Dakota, and Washington); and the remaining three states require a three-fourths vote (Arkansas, Michigan, and Oklahoma). In 13 of these 16 states, the supermajority requirement applies to all tax increases. In Michigan, a three-fourths supermajority vote is required to increase the State education property tax and the local school 18-mill tax.

Date Completed: 4-16-08                                                                   Fiscal Analyst: Jay Wortley

And here’s a copy of the actual resolution:


April 15, 2008, Introduced by Senators KAHN, PAPPAGEORGE, RICHARDVILLE, CASSIS, KUIPERS, BIRKHOLZ, CROPSEY, JANSEN, BISHOP, GILBERT, BROWN, McMANUS and ANDERSON and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution of 1963, by amending section 26 of article IV, to provide for concurrence of 2/3 of the members of each house to make certain modifications to certain taxes.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Michigan, That the following amendment to the state constitution of 1963, to provide for concurrence of 2/3 of the members of each house to make certain modifications to certain taxes, is proposed, agreed to, and submitted to the people of the state:


Sec. 26. No bill shall be passed or become a law at any regular session of the legislature until it has been printed or reproduced and in the possession 1 of each house for at least five days. Every bill shall be read three times in each house before the final passage thereof. No bill shall become a law without the concurrence of a majority of the members elected to and serving in each house. HOWEVER, A BILL TO EXPAND THE BASE OF SERVICES SUBJECT TO A TAX IMPOSED ON THE PROCEEDS OF THOSE SERVICES SHALL NOT BECOME LAW WITHOUT THE CONCURRENCE OF TWO-THIRDS OF THE MEMBERS ELECTED TO AND SERVING IN EACH HOUSE. On the final passage of bills, the votes and names of the members voting thereon shall be entered in the journal.
Resolved further, That the foregoing amendment shall be submitted to the people of the state at the next general election in the manner provided by law.

Here’s a copy of the information from the Senate Journal:

Roll Call No. 229                                                  Yeas—24

Allen Cassis Jansen Patterson
Anderson Cropsey Jelinek Richardville
Barcia Garcia Kahn Sanborn
Birkholz George Kuipers Schauer
Bishop Gilbert McManus Stamas
Brown Hardiman Pappageorge Van Woerkom


Basham Clark-Coleman Olshove Switalski
Brater Clarke Prusi Thomas
Cherry Gleason Scott Whitmer


Hunter Jacobs    


In The Chair: President

Senator Cropsey moved to reconsider the vote by which the joint resolution was not adopted.
The question being on the motion to reconsider,
Senator Cropsey moved that further consideration of the joint resolution be postponed for today.
The motion prevailed.


Senators Prusi and Switalski, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution L and moved that the statements they made during the discussion of the joint resolution be printed as their reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Prusi’s statement is as follows:
The Constitution is our guiding document, and continually in my service in the Legislature, there have been references to the Constitution. Now you want to take and amend in a significant way our guiding documents, and you want to do it with less than 20 minutes or a half-hour heads-up on this issue. I think that is monumentally unfair, I believe that this is a politically-motivated ploy to get a headline on this April 15 tax day.
One year ago, the Senate Republicans had as part of their plan an expansion to the sales tax on the services performed in this state. You spent the last entire year running away from that plan, but that was part of what your thinking was a year ago as we wrestled with significant budget problems here in the state of Michigan. That service tax which was passed and given immediate effect last year was done so with Senate Republican votes. Now all of a sudden, you want to handcuff the Legislature into the supermajority scheme on a significant portion of what we were going to use to balance the state budget at some point in the future.
I find it ironic that you want to insert into our guiding document this paragraph that is big, nebulous, and really has had no opportunity to be studied or analyzed by our fiscal agencies, by Treasury, our attorneys, or anyone just so you can garner a headline here on Tax Day. I find that disturbing, and for that reason, among others, one of which being should not it be printed or reproduced in five days. We barely got five minutes with this, folks.
I think that is a sad commentary on how we are running this process, and I would ask my colleagues to join me in voting “no” on this.

Senator Switalski’s statement is as follows:
Why would a joint resolution as important as this, just introduced 10 minutes ago, be left off the agenda, discharged to the floor with no committee hearings, and run all the way through General Orders and onto Third Reading in a total of 15 minutes? Are we that cavalier about our Constitution?The establishment of a two-thirds supermajority should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. It is a limit on the will of the majority. This two-thirds amendment to the Constitution would mean that majority rules on tax policy. I am appalled that my colleagues would take such drastic action in 15 minutes on a resolution whose ink isn’t even dry.

Senators Kahn and Cassis asked and were granted unanimous consent to make statements and moved that the statements be printed in the Journal.
The motion prevailed.
Senator Kahn’s statement is as follows:
This resolution does not arise de novo, isn’t like Athena bursting from the head of Zeus, though, hopefully, it has the same amount of knowledge. Why say that it doesn’t arise de novo? We’ve proposed it before in this body. There are 16 states that require supermajorities for tax issues, and clearly, we have had seared into our minds as well as into our people’s minds the issue of the service tax, its limitation, and I doubt that there is a person in this body who would like to revisit that.
I do understand the concern about timing. I would like to hear comments that reflect the value of the proposal—the value of reassurance to our people, the value of jobs, and the value of consideration before we raise the taxes that zap jobs from our people. That is missing from the comments that I have heard from my worthy colleagues who sit to my left. I would hope that they would bear that in mind that this resolution would pass, and failing that, it would not disappear, but rather receive hearings and then pass.

Senator Cassis’ statement is as follows:
Supermajorities are certainly not unheard of and, in fact, make it more certain that especially in regard to tax issues that our taxpayers—our constituents, that is—are heard loudly, clearly, and convincingly.

By unanimous consent the Senate returned to the order of


Senator Kahn asked and was granted unanimous consent to make a statement and moved that the statement be printed in the Journal.
The motion prevailed.
Senator Kahn’s statement is as follows:
Well, we got 24 votes; needed 26. This is Tax Day. People are struggling in their homes to pay their bills, buy food, and wondering about a job. Their children are leaving the state angry. Sixteen other states have required supermajorities for the imposition of new taxes. We can continue to work on this. I am heartened by the bipartisan support that we achieved for this resolution; heartened that the Senator from the 19th District would support it; heartened that the Senator from the 6th District would support it and the Senator from the 31st District, my good friend.
The idea of responsible taxation is of our people’s concern about the activities that we had, if you can call it that—the bills we passed, unpassed, and twirled around. It warrants serious consideration of this measure. I look forward to discussing it with you again. Hopefully, I can get some of the fervor of the Senator from the 2nd District and bring this up for your consideration again and again and again until our people are responsibly heard on the issues of taxation and their jobs.

Senator Kahn, the primary sponsor of the resolution, made the following statements: “A super-majority requirement guarantees the Legislature will be more careful in its actions and will help limit the growth of government.  We must not burden our people with further taxes.  I am disappointed my colleagues failed to move this resolution, and encourage them all to do the right thing by passing it for our people.  Taxing services is not the way to solve our budget problems.  Over the past year, we heard loud and clear from residents and businesses that expanding taxes to services would severely hamper their ability to grow and would further harm our economy.”

Again, I think that this will pass when it’s reintroduced.

I’ll be going to the Isabella GOP meeting on Monday, so I might be able to get a quote from Representative Bill Caul on his views on the resolution.

I really hope that this passes, because it SHOULD be harder to raise taxes.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! ::

%d bloggers like this: