Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Democrats will raise taxes $1.7 BILLION this week

We are at the end of the road. Democrats have not backed down from their demand for almost $2 billion more of your money.  And the Democratic process has broken down completely...

The Democratic process is something we all hold dear. It is the Hallmark of our American way of life. Everyone gets a chance to voice his opinion, with equal opportunity.  In the end, a vote takes place and almost without exception the process works, everyone assents to the winning team or candidate.  This is no longer the case in Lansing.
The traditions and honor of the parliamentary process have deteriorated completely.  Even between parties, there are some things you just don't do. As we wind down to the final act of this budget drama, Republicans have been shut out entirely.
The way it is supposed to work, a bill is introduced, run through committee and voted on the House floor.  There is a well defined protocol that is designed to give even the minority an opportunity to speak and to voice their arguments.  Mason's Rules are designed to give the majority party the decided advantage.  The Dems, who are in the majority, have the gavel in all committees and at the rostrum in Chambers.  They set the agenda and decide which bills will be heard.  But there are certain processes which, if not followed, end up disenfranchising some members and as a result, many citizens of the state. Don't forget, each of us on the House floor is representing 90,000 citizens.  We are privileged and obligated to speak on your behalf. You can't be here to speak, we speak for you. But not anymore. Over the last few weeks in this process:
  • Democrat leadership has discharged bills without any hearings with no opportunity for the opposition to offer amendments or compromise.

  • Democrat leadership has put bills or substitute bills on the floor for vote without any advance notice.  We all have computers where we can see full text of each bill. But they need to be on the system first. Today, they put a $65 million spending bill up for a vote before we even saw it.  It is 148 pages long.

  • Democrat leadership has refused to let Republican members speak from the floor.  The minority party has not been given the chance to even ask a question or read a bill before being asked to vote on it. The Speaker will not even acknowledge us as we stand on the floor with our arms raised, asking to speak.

The irony is in what new Democrat Speaker of the House, Andy Dillon said in January as he took the gavel as the new leader: "Agendas will be published, every member will be recognized and everyone will be allowed to read a bill or an amendment before they have to vote on it, no exceptions!"

The Democrats are poised to take $1.1 billion in income taxes $600 million in new business taxes in the dark of night.  And we, the Republican Representatives who came here to speak on your behalf, have been denied.  I have been proud to serve with 51 Republicans who have held firm and refused to vote for new taxes. Hopefully, we can endure to the end and fix this budget with reforms and spending reductions, not new taxes.

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