Lawmakers Battling On Budget

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Lawmakers aren't just fighting the clock anymore when it comes to the state's budget-- they're also fighting each other.

After Governor Granholm released her version of the 2009-2010 budget Tuesday, House Speaker Andy Dillon-- of her own democratic party-- released this statement:

"The Governor should know that showboating a proposal that has no chance of passing is not a way to solve the state's fiscal crisis. All parties need to put theatrics and demands aside and get back to the hard work of negotiating a budget solution."

"What you have at the very least is some dynamic tension," says political analyst Craig Ruff of Public Sector Consultants.

Ruff says the war of words is not what Michigan needs.

"It doesn't help the budget process, which is already flawed, which already has kinks. It just adds fuel to the fire," Ruff says.

House Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer took the opportunity Wednesday to weigh in on the battle-- and actually supported the Governor's move to release the budget in public, unlike Dillon.

"It might be time for Dillon to do some showboating of his own. The time has come for the House Democrats to release their proposal and have it be discussed openly," the Kewadin Republican says.

Elsenheimer wouldn't say whether he'd seen a version of Dillon's proposal in private, but indicated a state shutdown is growing more probable.

"If we aren't able to move substantive bills in the next week, bills that address the shutdown, not just smoke in mirrors, I think the likelihood becomes much more signficant," he says.

Ruff says this political tango could have been avoided altogether, had lawmakers not squandered July and August, and instead created a solution to the nearly $3 billion deficit.

"Creating a budget by October First is much more problematic than it should have been," Ruff says.

And so is the discussion.

Neither Dillon nor Granholm's offices returned our calls for comment today.


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