Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everybody switched to NO on the k-12 budget except...

Amash and McMillin. Seems some sort of new deal has been cut. Stay tuned.

Final tally: 106 No, 2 Yes, 2 absent

The Lawmakers with the guts to cut k-12 are...

Agema, Amash, Bolger, Booher, Crawford, Cushingberry, Daley, DeShazor, Genetski, Haveman, Horn, Jones, Rick; Knollenberg, Lori, Lund, McMIllin, Meekhof, Meltzer, Moss, Opsommer, Pavlov, Proos, Rogers, Schmidt,W., Stamas, Caul, Kowall, Kurtz,

K-12 budget on the board

It has a 3.6% reduction in spending from last year. So far, only about 20 have voted FOR a cut in school aid budget.

I Hope You Are E-mailing Your House Member

The turnout is disappointing, but hopefully, you are keeping the heat on lawmakers not to raise taxes.
Remember, you can't tax yourself into prosperity or a balanced budget. The more taxes go up, the less the private sector produces, and revenues decline. They raised taxes $1.5 billion two years ago to "balance" the budget. So how does that explain the $3 billion shortfall this year?

Contact you lawmaker here.

Tell them, "We already cut our budget this year. Please don't make us cut it again so you don't have to."

Yes, the Legislature does a lot of sitting around

You can't blame the Republicans for that, though. They are locked in and waiting for the Dems to show some leadership. Do something!

Where is Mr. Perks when you need him?

K-12 Budget seems to be the key

The dems didn't have the votes to pass the education budget with a cut of $218 per pupil. So they gave up and are now reconsidering the next move.

You can follow me on twitter.

On Location, Live From Lansing!

I will be twittering and blogging from here on out.

A Letter from a House Member

The letter below is from an email I just received from an unnamed legislator. Obviously, too many of them are not serious about making the necessary cuts...

I'm writing to you from the House Floor with a quick update as we face midnight deadline to balance the budget. I am doing everything I can to help the Legislature meet that deadline; this morning the House passed an interim budget as a backup plan to keep the government operating after midnight, just in case. 

The House worked late last night to pass more budgets, and we have now passed 9 of the 15 budgets: Community Colleges; Agriculture; Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; Department of Environmental Quality/Department of Natural Resources; Department of Human Services; Judiciary; Corrections; Department of Education; and Military and Veterans Affairs.

We have more extremely tough decisions to make. There's no doubt that more deep cuts have to be made to make government leaner and more efficient. However, we have to make these cuts the right way, in the right places.

Today the six remaining budgets will come up for a vote: Higher Education, School Aid (K-12), General Government, the Department of Community Health, Transportation and State Police. Several of these budgets represent priorities that we must invest in to protect our residents and ensure Michigan's economic turnaround. I'm very concerned that cuts in some of these budgets simply go too far and take Michigan in the wrong direction.

  • We have to protect local fire and police protection to keep our families and communities safe. We can't afford to endanger our residents and drive away job providers by taking more first responders off the street.
  • We have to protect Promise Scholarships, which help nearly 100,000 students train for 21st century jobs while creating the educated workforce we need to attract emerging industries. We cannot close the door on affordable access to college for middle-class families.
  • We have to provide the resources our schools need to educate our children so they can be prepared to compete for good-paying jobs in the global economy. We can't rob our students of the teachers and tools they need to succeed in life.
  • And we have to increase access to health care for our kids and seniors. We cannot become a state that turns its back on our most vulnerable residents. We are better than that.

I will keep you updated as often as I can. Please forward this update to anyone you think is interested. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Straw Poll. Winners: Hoekstra and McManus. "Losers": Snyder and Scott

Over the weekend at the GOP Conference on Mackinac Island, a straw poll was held to get a sense from the party faithful who their favorites are for governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. The intention is to poll only the paid attendees to the conference. Your right to vote is included in your $100 registration fee.

At every bi-annual conference, there are volunteers who come to the island to help get the word out and campaign for the candidates. It is not unusual to see a dozen to 50 or 60 enthusiastic T-shirt wearing college students carrying signs, handing out literature and cheering on their favorite candidate. In return, these kids usually get a free ferry ride, a hotel room and all the chicken wings and refreshing beverages they can consume. NPR has a great article online about the straw poll. Read it here.

This year, however, it was a little different for one candidate in particular. Rick Snyder's campaign brought as many as 500 volunteers to the island. (At least that is the number rumored to have registered with the Snyder campaign in the last week alone.) They were easy to spot; they all had day-glow lime green t-shirts on. You knew they weren't road builders, Mackinac Island doesn't even allow cars.

All 500 of these volunteers were allowed to vote in the straw poll because the Snyder campaign paid the $100 for every one of them. (Nice $50,000 bump for the party coffers!) What is curious is why Snyder  received only 396 votes. What was even more startling was the method used by the campaign to ensure that the "volunteers" were voting properly. I happened to notice when I was up at the hotel to vote that a Snyder campaign employee was standing inside the cordoned off voting area. Each Snyder green shirt who voted had to hand the ballot card to be checked for accuracy. Once the campaign employee was satisfied, he would stamp the hand of the voter. (Can you say "card check"? So much for secret ballots...)

To nobody's surprise, Snyder came in first in the straw poll. What was a surprise was how well Pete Hoekstra did. The Congressman from Holland is not as well known statewide as Mike Bouchard who ran on the statewide ballot in 2006 or Attorney General Mike Cox who has been elected statewide twice. Pete did not pay the way for 500 campaign workers, in fact, I saw a relatively small number of shirts with his name on them. I guess Pete received 219 votes because delegates actually liked his message and performance in the debate. Bouchard and Cox virtually tied with 300 and 298 votes respectively, very impressive indeed.

In the race for Secretary of State, Michelle McManus did very well. She garnered 404 votes; Sen. Cameron Brown, 311; Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander, 248; and Paul Scott, 212. So what is the deal with Paul Scott? He is a 26-year old freshman lawmaker with all of 9 months experience in elected office. Here is the inside story. The same organization that is "master-minding" the Snyder campaign has also recruited Rep. Scott, apparently convincing him that he is a viable candidate. So the word went out to the Snyder army that while voting for Snyder for governor, they should vote for Scott for SOS. Obviously, barely over half of them did. Get all the results here.

Incidentally, I had a brief conversation with one of the green-shirted volunteers. When I asked her if the guy she was supporting was going to be the next governor, seriously, her response to me was, "Who's that?" I replied, "You know, Rick." She had a blank look on her face. I pointed to her shirt and continued, "Rick...Snyder." She looked down at her shirt, her face brightened and she said, "Oh, yeah, duh. Gee, that was a real blond thing to do, wasn't it?" Here is a YouTube from Right Michigan that further illustrates the point.

Well, its early. What counts is not the straw poll. That was really just a fund-raiser for the Republican Party. What matters is leadership. We will find out in the coming months who those leaders really are. I think we have some very good candidates to consider.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You Think the Governor Will Keep Her Promise?

Last December the governor promised, "No more taxes, no more fee increases."

Here is what MIRS reported today

Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM confirmed this afternoon that five departmental budgets remain "problematic" as lawmakers prepare for an all-night session to address a Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 spending document that is $2.8 billion in the hole.

Budgets dealing with K-12 schools, Medicaid, college scholarships, day care for low-income working families and revenue sharing to local municipalities remain in a state of flux as the Governor and other lawmakers struggle with sparing those priorities against "dangerous cuts" by approving tax increases.

Stay tuned! 

Ready for Another Midnight Tax Hike? There is a way to stop it!

Two years ago, after squandering away the entire Summer, the legislature passed a budget that included $1.5 billion in new taxes. They did it in the dark of night, hours AFTER the October 1st deadline.

Here we are, just five days away from going over the cliff, and it's "Deja vu all over again." The legislature spent most of the Spring and the Summer NOT addressing the budget, and in fact, not even holding session. As of this writing, there is still no budget resolution.

midnightIt is my opinion that leaders in the legislature, who do not have the intestinal fortitude to make drastic reductions in state government are running out the clock. They are going to put the proverbial gun to our heads on September 30 and tell us we must accept a tax increase to preserve all those "essential services" or face a government shutdown.

There is a way to stop them. May I suggest the following courses of action:

  1. Stay informed. Two years ago, I was blogging up-to-the-minute reports on the process from the floor of the House. Nearly 2,500 readers stayed up past midnight to read every post. Most of them were telling me to "shut 'er down." This year, I encourage every conservative blogger in Michigan to converge on Lansing on the 30th. Sit in the gallery of the House and the Senate and blog to the world the blow-by-blow events. Make sure all your followers know instantly if there is a proposal to raise taxes. I will likely be blogging from the gallery on
  2. MGTVWatch the proceedings live on your computer. Go to Michigan Government TV (MGTV). Legislative sessions are usually streamed live.
  3. Call, write, email, fax...flood the legislature with communications that expresses your opposition to more taxes and fees on your family, your business, your community to pay for their fiscally irresponsible ways. Here are the House and Senate links.
  4. tea party"Storm the Castle." Come to Lansing Wednesday night and stand outside the capitol with your home made signs. Let them know what you think. Every day, the taxpayer-funded lobbyists are calling, visiting, buying coffee and lunch for lawmakers to convince them "not to cut MY budget." Now you need to lobby them not to cut YOUR budget. Because if your taxes go up, that's exactly what will happen. (Stay tuned for announcements of a rally to take place, if needed.) Who knows? Maybe they will settle this over the weekend; maybe they will pass a "continuation" budget, which is essentially kicking the problem down the road. But, if we get to Wednesday without a settlement, you may be needed in Lansing!
This Government Belongs to You!
we the peopleYou elected these lawmakers. They are accountable to you. They knocked on your door to ask for your vote. Now you need to "knock on their door" and remind them what you elected them to do. When it comes to the state budget, spending and taxation, this is the most crucial five days of the entire year. Now is when you need to be watching Lansing.

Thanks for being part of the solution.

Thanks for holding your elected officials accountable!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Center Right Meeting, Thursday, September 24

Center Right Meeting
Thursday September 24, 9:30 a.m.
Prosecutor's Building
116 West Ottawa, Lansing MI, MI 48083
Next to the "House Biggby's"

Agenda will be sent out early next week.

If you have an item for discussion, please let me know via e-mail. Legislators who have bills to discuss which promote limited govenment are always given priority! Bring handouts.

Back to Basics

I used to use blogger to post my blogs. Then, for quite a while, I was using a web site, to post blogs and newsletters.

I have decided to move back to blogger. Blogs and newsletters will be posted on this site. In addition, I will continue to use Constant Contact to e-mail newsletters to all subscribers. If you are not on my mailing list, please send me a note at and ask to be added.

Because of the transition, many of the archived blogs and letters will look a llittle strange. I apologize for that. Going forward, there should be continuity to the posts. Meanwhile, you can find my blog either t www.jackformichigan or Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Cushingberry Memo

Looks like the Democrats are going to push for more taxes and fees. This memo came from Rep. George Cushingberry today. He is the chairman of the House Appropriations comittee.

His memo calls for almost $1 billion in news revenue. Rather than make the painful cuts, just like all of us have done in our families and businesses, he wants to extract another $1 billion from a rapidly shrinking tax base. Read his memo here.

What Are They Saying About Illinois?

Illinois Policy Institute is instructive...

"Michigan, you see, is a bit of an odd bird when it comes to welcoming tourists. While the state is spending $30 million on its “Pure Michigan” promotional ad campaign, it also charges out-of-staters almost double the property taxes if they want to own a beach home—not exactly a boon for tourist towns and businesses desperately needing summer residents. (If you’re curious, you can calculate your would-be vacation home taxes here). Even odder, perhaps, is the recently proposed bill for a Michigan Promotion Fund, “primarily for use in promoting tourism,” that would raise taxes on tourists who rent cars…and then use the money on fancy ad campaigns to lure, yes, more tourists. Presumably, these tourists are people who don’t mind being nicked for a buck or two every step of their trip."

Read the full story here.