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Road funding and legislative scandals ... how did you spend your summer?

Aug 20, 2015

Lansing Capitol
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

Jennifer White spoke to Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, about legislative progress towards a roads funding package.

Sikkema says there hasn't been real progress made and Republicans have failed to identify the cuts they would make in the state budget to pay for road improvements. He also says he thinks Republicans need to be willing to make the cuts they identify, rather than leave them for a later legislature to handle.

Demas says Democrats have some leverage in the legislature because Republicans may not be able to gather enough votes to pass a funding package with only Republican votes. Democrats are already asking Republicans to back away from the prevailing wage issue. Demas thinks we'll also see Democrats asking Republicans to protect things like the Earned Income Tax Credit in exchange for Democratic votes. 

Sikkema and Demas also shared their thoughts on the scandal that's emerged over the summer between GOP Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. 

Sikkema says the scandal is more than a distraction in the legislature because of the time and energy it takes from legislative leaders.

Demas says she wonders if the representatives' decision to stay in office is a reflection of their belief that they can weather the storm in their heavily Republican districts.

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