LANSING — Members of the House Democratic Caucus continued to criticize Republicans after today’s scheduled session was essentially canceled. The majority party scheduled only a handful of session days through the summer to work toward a solution that would fund desperately needed road repairs throughout Michigan. Twice last week, the House was called to session and adjourned without a vote. Today, although the House will technically be in session, no attendance or votes will be taken.
“Once again, Lansing Republicans have shown their inability to do what’s best for the hardworking citizens of this state and simply do their jobs,” said House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills). “Rather than meeting with their fellow legislators and reaching a compromise, they continue to bicker behind closed doors about funding schemes that bust the budget and raise taxes on working-class families. Republicans have been in power for four and a half years — results are long overdue.”
Competing plans introduced by House and Senate Republicans have passed their respective chambers but stalled in the other. House Republicans rely heavily on future economic growth and repeal the Earned Income Tax Credit, which lifts thousands of Michigan families out of poverty every year. Senate Republicans want to raise the gas tax, burdening individual drivers, and dedicate General Fund money away from schools, revenue sharing and other areas of the budget.
Statewide media have soundly criticized both Republican plans, and Gov. Rick Snyder hasn’t endorsed either one. Despite that, and their four and a half years of failure to come to any solution with broad support, Democrats have had almost no input on any possible compromise. When asked whether Democrats should be invited to the table, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said, “The citizens elected Republicans and want Republicans to solve the problem.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats have introduced a plan that would raise more than $1 billion for roads without heavily burdening working families. The plan asks corporations to give back a portion of the $2 billion tax cut they received in 2011, in addition to raising fines for overweight trucks and reforming the vehicle registration process. The latter two portions of the plan were introduced last year and garnered strong Republican support.
“The Republican leadership said ours isn’t a serious proposal, but members of their own caucus voted for major elements of our plan just last year,” said state Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser), Democratic vice chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Republicans have tried to go it alone for more than four years, and nothing has come of it. Michigan residents want us to come together to find a solution, and that’s what Democrats want to do — if only our colleagues would let us.”