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Thu April 14, 2011
We’re getting a roundup of this week’s state politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.
This week Governor Snyder and GOP leaders announced they had come up with a tax deal. Demas says the biggest part of the deal is that they modified the pension tax, which was controversial.
If you are on a pension right now, if you are 67 and older you are not going to have to worry anymore, they have taken that off the table. If you’re younger than 67 you will be taxed more than you would have previously. But that means that instead of the almost $1 billion that was suppose to raised it will only raise $300 million. So to make up the difference we will see more budget cuts. And the income tax will stay at the 4.35% rate. It will not drop down to 4.25%.
Governor Synder said he wanted the budget to be completed by May 31st. Lawmakers and pundits didn’t seem to have much hope for that timeline. Sikkema says there is a good chance that the budget will not get passed by May 31st. But he adds that it is an ambitious deadline. He says the Michigan Legislature has not passed a budget by July 1st for 6 or 7 years.
Also in the news this week is Governor Snyder’s continued to push for a second bridge crossing between Detroit and Ontario. Governor Snyder does not have complete party support for the bridge crossing, so he’ll need Democratic support to get the bridge plan through the legislature. But Demas says the Democrats don’t have a lot of leverage.
This is going to be very controversial. The House subcommittee on Transportation appropriations today stripped out all the money for the bridge. I think that right now Rick Snyder’s big concern is how to get many more Republicans on board, because certainly he has a lot of work to do.
Sikkema says it will be a challenge to get Republicans on board with the Detroit bridge crossing.
The argument or the position he is trying to advance it that this is not going to cost Michigan tax payers any money. And, I think many Republican legislators are not sold on that argument. Their fear is that long term at some point, Michigan tax payers have to help foot the bill for the bridge. And I think it’s a pretty uphill climb right now.
What should we be looking for in the next few weeks?
Sikkema says he believes the basic framework of Governor Snyder’s budget plan will be enacted.
There is a sense in the public that somebody has to something dramatic, and he is.
Mercedes Mejia - Michigan Radio News