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Oct 01

Live Blogging Michigan’s Financial Collapse (On A Tape Delay)

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UPDATED October 1, 2009 at 2:55PM

The following is a list of all of the updates from the City of Ypsilanti’s lobbyist Kirk Profit for the past week detailing how incompetent some of our leaders in Lansing are.

From Kirk Profit, Thursday, October 1, 2009 2:34PM

As you know from our earlier emails the legislature completed its work last night on the ’09 -’10 fiscal year state budget. This work included a continuation budget (SB 831) for all state government operations other than school aid (School Aid having been passed in a separate continuation budget). Additionally, full year budgets were passed for all the state government operations and have been enrolled and presented to the Governor for her consideration.

We are working closely with the State Budget Director, Lt. Governor and others from the Executive Office in order to develop a plan that can adequately respond to the difficult circumstances into which these budgets have placed you and your constituents. The Governor has signed SB 831 (the 30 day continuation budget) and that is now Public Act 104. With respect to the full year budgets, the Executive Office is giving consideration to a variety of options that would move the state budget into a form and condition that would be much more workable for your interests. While the Governor has 14 days within which to consider whether to sign or veto all or portions of these budgets, I expect that decisions will be made sometime during the next week so that the legislature will be in a position during this 30 day continuation period to adopt a more rational state budget plan.

We will continue to work with the legislature and the Executive Office so that we can be properly positioned to achieve more of our goals than was possible under the restrictive parameters of the Dillon / Senate Republican agreement. This budget process is clearly not over. You should anticipate a very intense month of October in which the state budget, state revenues, and tax reform continue to be very live subject matters before state policy makers. To be sure, it is likely that this will once again reach maximum intensity as the end of the 30 day extension approaches at the end of October. We encourage all of you to stay engaged. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions.

— Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Thursday, October 1, 2009 1:18AM

Much to our disappointment, SB 245, the general government budget bill that includes that extreme cuts to revenue sharing has now passed the House with the minimum number of votes necessary to pass. Legislators in Washtenaw County in the House voted as follows:

1) Smith NO
2) Warren NO
3) Angerer YES
4) Byrnes YES

To give you some feel for relative impact just in Washtenaw County, this results in a cut to revenue sharing from last year in the following amounts:

1) City of Ann Arbor $1,161,080
2) City of Ypsilanti $330,226
3) Ypsilanti Twp. $462,479
4) Pittsfield Twp. $126,908

All other communities in Washtenaw County take a cut as well, with these four communities taking the largest cuts.

We will continue to work with the Governor’s office (which has to decide now whether to sign these budget bills, or send them back to the legislature with her veto), and the legislature to work to correct the harm that this will cause to our community. To be sure, this fight is not over; and we encourage you to continue to stay engaged so that we can fix this problem. It was extremely unfortunate that House leadership agreed to the Senate Republican budget #’s that unnecessarily restricted the amount of funding that is available for revenue sharing and so many other very important funding priorities.

We will be contacting you soon to discuss strategies to restore a level of funding that allows you to provide the essential services that your constituents legitimately demand and expect.

Thanks again for you patience in this very difficult budget process.

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Thursday, October 1, 2009 12:18AM

As the clock now has moved passed the midnight hour, the legislature has failed to gather sufficient votes on all of the budgets and send them to the Governor for her signature before the end of the fiscal year. There is therefore no completed appropriation yet for the ’09-’10 fiscal year – the scenario that most have referred to as a “government shutdown”.

The Senate has adjourned and will return at 12:15am Thursday (in just a few minutes). There continues to be insufficient votes in the Republican controlled Senate for new revenues to balance the ’09—’10 budget; and at this point, Senate Democrats are still withholding votes for “immediate effect” on the budget bills (working to use that as leverage for their interest in a budget that includes a broader combination of revenues, in addition to cuts and stimulus).

The House has just moved a 30 day school aid continuation budget; and has yet to return to the General Government budget bill with includes the revenue sharing line item. It has now adjourned; but will return within the next few minutes now that it is Thursday am.

We continue to work to have the House reject the Senate cuts to revenue sharing; however, pressure continues to mount on House members from House leadership to accept the Senate cuts to revenue sharing (leadership believing that they can restore these cuts at a later date – obviously, this is VERY risking in that leverage is significantly diminished after the Senate Republicans achieve their goal of passing a budget with no new revenues).

We will keep you updated as the deliberations continue even now after ’08-’09 fiscal year has expired; and a new fiscal year has begun without a budget.

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 5:34PM

We are having some success in resisting and rejecting the General Government Budget bill that has the diminished revenue sharing in it. However, there is a lot of pressure from House Dem leadership to support it; and they are only about 6 or 7 votes short of the majority they need. Thanks again for ALL your help through this process – we will continue the effort into the night –

K-12, Gen. Government Budgets Hit Roadblock in House
The House’s attempt to complete $1.2 billion in cuts agreed to by leadership to complete the 2009-10 budget has at least temporarily come to a screeching halt with the vote board being cleared on two critical bills.

After garnering just over 40 votes, Democrats cleared the board on the general government budget (SB 245) as members bemoaned the cuts to revenue sharing.

Democrats then went into caucus and when they came out, the K-12 budget was put up on the board.

But HB 4447, which cuts the equivalent of $218 per student, garnered even more criticism from members of both parties.

After garnering just over 30 votes supporting the cuts, the vote board was cleared.

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:33PM

Both General Government and K-12 budget bills are struggling to gather sufficient votes in the House. Also, see below for the most recent release (a MIRS release that I have adjusted to make sure it is up to date with current information) –

Kirk

Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM is sending notice to all 51,000 state employees that they are on temporary layoff as of 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1 until she is able to sign a continuation budget. The Governor is putting complete blame on the Senate for not giving her a spending plan by the time some state workers left work today.

“It seemed like the prudent, decent thing to do — to inform state employees if they would have a job tomorrow,” said Granholm Press Secretary Liz BOYD.

The Governor’s letter advises employees to watch the news reports tonight to see if an agreement on a 30-day spending plan, which will get the state to Oct. 31, is reached.

Senate Majority spokesman Matt MARSDEN wondered aloud why the Governor was being arbitrary about sending out this letter now, as opposed to midnight when state government was shut down in 2007.

“Frankly, this is about a Governor who’s been out of the loop and is desperately trying to insert herself to regain control,” Marsden said. “We’re seeing budgets move in a fairly quick order between the two chambers, so nobody can quite understand this move on her part.”

In other news, the House just moments ago failed to adopt the conference report on SB 0245 — a general government budget that would slice state revenue sharing to local units of government by 11.1 percent.SB 0245 is one of the two largest hurdles remaining as House Speaker Andy DILLON (D-Redford Twp.) works to adopt the all-cuts budget agreement he reached with Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester). The larger hurdle, yet to be approached by the lower chamber, is contained in the conference report on HB 4447 the state’s School Aid Fund budget that would nip per pupil funding by $212. The House is voting on the SAF for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 at this moment (they are more than 20 votes short of passage at this time).

In other news, the Senate has yet to take an immediate effect vote on any of the budgets it has passed. In order to get the required number of votes to make their spending plan for FY 2010 effective immediately, they will need Democratic support.

It’s unknown if the Dems will be there with their votes. The Senate Dems have been withholding immediate effect as their final source of leverage to pressure the Senate R’s to add more $$ for critical shortages in the budget (such as community health, higher ed, K-12, revenue sharing, and others).

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 2:21PM

ALERT !!

The House just took a run at trying to pass the General Gov’t Budget bill that contains the dramatically diminished funding for revenue sharing. It could NOT get sufficient votes to pass it; and the House Dem.’s are now back in caucus trying to determine what to do in order to get sufficient votes to pass this budget. While the Board was open for voting, all Washtenaw County legislators were voting NO except for Rep. Angerer who did not vote at that time.

In caucus, there will likely be significant pressure placed on a number of House Democrats by the Dem. leadership to vote for these cuts so that the agreement that the Speaker has with the Senate Republicans can be met. This would be a VERY good time for you to contact your legislators and encourage their resistance and opposition to this budget as currently drafted. Furthermore, our Washtenaw legislators that are in leadership should be encouraged to drop the leadership effort to have this budget passed; and instead return it to the conference committee so that $$ can be added for adequate funding for revenue sharing.

We appreciate your help with this; and we will continue to work this in the Capital on your behalf –

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 2:02PM

FYI –

The drama continues………….

Kirk

Special Update, Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 12:41PM

Granholm Tells Senate To Send Her Continuation Budget Now

Governor Jennifer Granholm is demanding the Senate act on the continuation budget immediately to prevent a partial shutdown of state government. Unless she gets SB 831 immediately state workers leaving their shifts at mid-afternoon Wednesday will be told not to report for work on Thursday, October 1.

A Senate spokesperson said if the continuation budget is sent first then that would take the House off the hook to vote on other budgets.

Senate republicans also worry that Ms. Granholm will simply veto the other budgets if the continuation budget is sent her.

Liz Boyd, Ms. Granholm’s spokesperson, said 51,000 state workers have layoff notices sitting on their desks and some will leave their Wednesday shift as early as 2 p.m. If Ms. Granholm has not signed the continuation budget by then, those workers will be told not to report Thursday.

Asked what difference that might make if the other budgets are passed, Ms. Boyd said the Senate had failed to approve the State Police budget and now it was failing to finish work on the continuation budget.

All that remains for SB 831, approved earlier by the House, is an Immediate Effect vote by the Senate.

Matt Marsden, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), said of the demand relayed by Budget Director Bob Emerson: “Nobody quite gets where she’s trying to go with this.”

If the continuation budget is approved, then the House would have no reason to finish work on the budget, he said. Technically, he said, the Senate does not have to finish the continuation budget until 11:55 p.m., Wednesday.

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 2:00PM

Even with the passage of this VERY difficult budget for MANY health care recipients and their families, the budget drama continues inasmuch as there are still some difficult budgets to pass. Specifically, the revenue sharing budget has still not moved in the House; and the continuation budget that would fill in any timing gaps caused by the late hour of these bills passing still sits in the Senate awaiting a vote on immediate effect.

Additionally, although the House will explore and maybe even vote on some revenues later today, the Senate Republicans and their support groups appear VERY committed to their position of no new revenues as part of this budget – and you will recall that the Speaker/Senate budget agreement eliminated any leverage the House Democrats might have otherwise had.

We will keep you posted with additional updates; as always feel free to contact us with questions and we will get you answers as soon as they are available.

Thanks again for all the work that you are doing; and thanks for your patience in this very difficult process !!

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 11:36AM

The House has now passed on a straight party line vote (all Dem.’s supporting with the addition of Rep. Rocca from Macomb, and all Republicans opposing) a supplemental budget bill for the ’09-’10 fiscal year. This bill HB 5403 would restore all of the cuts that were and will be passed in the full year budget bills that have so many of the difficult and dramatic cuts to your interests. This however is bit disingenuous – there is NO REVENUE attached to this supplemental appropriation !!! Additionally, as you can see the Republicans in the House and Senate OPPOSE this; and there is very little leverage in trying to get their support for revenue to pay for this supplemental appropriation bill. While this may give “cover” to some legislators who have voted for the cuts over which we have concerns, you should not be fooled by this illusion. Until there is agreement on revenues to pay for this, this supplemental budget bill is meaningless.

We will continue to work through the remainder of this process today (and afterwards) to correct the serious mistakes that are being made in the formulation of the ’09-’10 fiscal year budget (now in the final hours before the end of the fiscal year). To be sure, we are already discussing with the Governor and Lt. Governor and their budget leaders how we can begin to repair the damage that will result from this flawed “strategy” of House Democratic leadership in accepting the dramatically diminished target #’s of the Senate Republican Leadership without any meaningful negotiated gain for their interests.

Again, we will continue to keep you abreast as this develops further –

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:23AM

As you can see from the release below, the House has also passed a continuation budget as a fall back position. Please note that the continuation budget that has now passed both the House and the Senate uses the Senate Republican proposal for a cuts only (no revenue) budget. This would have the same dramatic impact on a 30 day basis in the areas of revenue sharing, health care, financial aid, social service, and other interests that you might have that are yet to play out in the full year budgets that are up for consideration today.

We will keep you posted as this continues to develop.

Kirk

Special Update, Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 9:45AM

House Approves Continuation Budget
As the last of the regular budgets moved through conference committee, the House approved a continuation budget to give lawmakers another month to complete work on those budgets.

The budget (SB 831) covers all but the School Aid Fund spending for October, essentially adopting the cuts to which House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) had agreed.

The chamber passed the agreement 88-18 with members from both parties in the opposition.

From Kirk Profit, Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:36PM

The House is beginning to vote on budgets that implement the Dillon/Bishop agreement. Budgets that already passed earlier this week (and last week) were relatively non-controversial and were not dependant on additional revenues to respond to many of the concerns that we have raised (the budgets previously passed included Agriculture, Military Affairs, Judiciary, and DELEG).

Now, as the first more controversial budget is placed before the full House for a vote, it appears that there are sufficient votes to achieve the goals set by the Dillon/Bishop agreement to have a budget of cuts with no new revenues. This first budget of a more controversial nature is the Department of Human Services; and it will have significant impacts especially at the County level where many of these services are administered and provided. We will get you more detail on these impacts as we can put them together. To be sure, some have the appearance of Headlee implications and that is an issue that will have to be explored further. The DHS budget passed by a vote of 69-39 (all 39 members voting no were Democrats, 26 Democrats voted yes with all of the House Republicans). To be sure, we will want to raise those particularly objectionable items with the Governor for her consideration for veto.

We will continue to work to achieve our goals for you on the other budgets (revenue sharing and others) as they are brought up tonight and tomorrow. We are becoming more concerned that the Speaker’s insistence on delivering on his commitment to the Senate Majority Leader Bishop may be succeeding. Indeed he only needs 13 members of the Democratic caucus to vote with the 43 House Republicans to deliver a budget with no new revenues.

We will keep you posted as this and other budgets continue to develop –

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Tuesday, September 29, 2009 2:34PM

Although this is marginally better than the cut that had been agreed to in the Dillon/Bishop agreement, it is still unacceptable. We are working as we speak to either have it rejected by the full House, or have an agreement reached on new revenues that would restore even this diminished cut. Once again we appreciate your patience with this VERY difficult “process”; and your continued points of contact with legislators and policy makers is having an impact. Thanks so much for your engagement on this very important issue !!

We will keep you posted as this continues to develop later today and throughout the week (yes…….shut down is still a possibility – and executive office vetoes are certainly be discussed !!).

Stay tuned………..

Kirk

Special Update, Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 12:24PM

Revenue Sharing Cut 11.06% Under Conference Report
Revenue sharing aid to cities, villages, townships and counties would be cut by 11.06 percent under a bill approved today by a House-Senate conference committee.

SB 245 was approved on the minimum two votes from each side of the committee. Rep. Fred Durhal (D-Detroit) the House chair of the conference voted against the proposal as did Sen. Deborah Cherry.

Although the cut approved was not as deep as the 13.1 percent cut for cities, villages and townships initially spelled out by the target agreement between Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and House Speaker Andy Dillon, it would still represent a sharp reduction of $73.8 million from the current 2008-09 fiscal year. Counties under the original agreement would have seen a deeper cut, 14.3 percent.

In other moves within the general government budget, the conference committee retained funding for the State Fair as well as adding another $500,000. Governor Jennifer Granholm had called for discontinuing state support of the fair.

And the 21st century jobs fund would be cut $46.5 million.

From Kirk Profit, Monday, September 28, 2009 4:33PM

As you have probably seen, there is still no agreement on revenue sharing. Speaker has said tomorrow is “D-Day”. I know that many of you have weighed in heavily over the past several weeks at our urging. Now, that the intensity is reaching its peak, I would encourage you to contact our legislators (again!!) and ask them to vote the interests of our community – especially over any considerations of a leadership agreement that would harmful to their constituents !! Voting the interests of our community means no cut (or only a minimal cut) to revenue sharing….and NOT the 30%+ cut in statutory revenue sharing that the leadership agreement envisions !!

We having been working with the conference committee members all weekend and will continue to press our case as the end of the fiscal year is now just over 48 hours away. We will keep you up to date as developments occur so that you can take actions as you see appropriate.

Thanks again for ALL your work and support for our community !!!

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Friday, September 25, 2009 2:45PM

FYI – (see news release below)

Even continuation budget under this scenario presents problems. Beyond the broader notion that this is another failure by this state government to pass a budget on time, this specific continuation budget does so with the appropriations envisioned by the Dillon/Bishop “target” agreement. You will recall that those #’s dramatically diminish statutory revenue sharing. Even for a 30 day continuation, that is unacceptable. We are working to have House members understand this so that they don’t simply concur in a “continuation” that results in revenue sharing cut for 30 days – certain House members do not agree with this for the full year budget, and they should not agree with it for 30 days either !! The Senate passed this continuation budget bill on a straight party line vote.

Stay tuned……….

Kirk

The Senate today on party-line votes OK’d two continuion budgets. SB 0252 was for the School Aid Fund providing money for K-12 and SB 0831 was for all other departments.

Democrats took issue that the continuation budgets were based on the target agreement signed by Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester) and Speaker Andy DILLON (D-Redford Twp.) and not a “true” continuation budget based on numbers from the current fiscal year. SB 0252 would cuts schools by $20 per pupil and Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) by 4 percent. SB 0831 funds departments for a month at 1/12 of the levels set in the target agreement.

Democrats said the Senate should stay the weekend and finish the job. Some took shots at Republicans, accusing them as wanting to leave for their biennual retreat on Mackinac Island.

“This is a get out of Dodge free card,” said Sen. Gretchen WHITMER (D-East Lansing)..

From Kirk Profit, Thursday, September 24, 2009 6:08PM

Amid all the mess with the budget, some good news to report: the Senate will vote in support tonight for the DELEG budget that includes the Fire Protection Grant line item. This retains $458,640.64 for the City of Ypsilanti according to House Fiscal Agency – CONGRATS !!!

Stay tuned on the rest of the budget, however !!!!!

Kirk

From Kirk Profit, Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:45PM

FYI –

It may be of value for us to send a short note of encouragement and support to Rep. Durhal, Rep. Cushingberry, Speaker Dillon, Sen. Bishop, Sen. Jelinek, and Sen. Pappageorge expressing your interest in an appropriation for revenue sharing that allows you to continue essential services such as police and fire. Copies should go to our local legislators, myself, and perhaps the media –

Thanks !!

Kirk

Special Update, Thursday, September 24, 2009, 4:19PM

Revenue Sharing Talks Break Down
Talks to reach an agreement on revenue sharing have hit an impasse, a key House negotiator said today.

Rep. Fred Durhal Jr. (D-Detroit), chair of the House Appropriations General Government Subcommittee, said negotiations have stalled because he will not make drastic cuts to cities, counties, villages and townships, and they can’t find enough cuts within the departmental budgets to make up for the $163.4 million reduction in revenue sharing.

“Unless Senate Republicans come to the table with revenue, we don’t have much else to talk about,” Mr. Durhal said.

Mr. Pappageorge concurred with Mr. Durhal’s assessment of an impasse, but said it is Mr. Durhal’s responsibility to come up with new revenue. Mr. Pappageorge said he found enough money to reduce the cut to cities, villages and townships to 12 percent from 13.4 percent but Mr. Durhal remaind opposed to a cut of that size.

Asked for the cause of the standstill, Mr. Pappageorge said, “All these rumors floating around here that we’re going to get more money. That’s all well and good but I can’t do a budget on maybe money.”

Earlier, after recessing the House-Senate conference committee on the bill, he told the audience that he dislikes the proposed spending target that calls for a 13.4 percent cut in revenue sharing and that he was trying to bring that to 12 percent.

“The targets were too low for revenue sharing,” Mr. Pappageorge said.

Meanwhile, the House has formally scheduled session for Saturday and Sunday. The Senate has scheduled a session for Friday, but not the weekend.

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Jennifer Granholm talked with Democratic lawmakers on the House floor.

She told reporters afterward that “big cuts” unavoidably will be part of the 2009-10 budget, but she can’t support such drastic measures as reductions to college scholarships and K-12 schools.

“No one wants a shutdown,” she said. “You know the ball is obviously in the Legislature’s court at this point and they are working very hard to get it across the line before the budget deadline. I’m trying to do everything I can to help them.”

Several conference committees scheduled to meet today, like the one for general government, simply have recessed as negotiators try to reach agreement.

Two conference committees that had yet to meet, for the departments of Human Services and Transportation, scheduled meetings for 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. tonight, respectively. But they also scheduled meetings for Friday morning.

That leaves the conference committee for perhaps the most contentious budget of all, the Department of Community Health’s, the lone one yet to schedule a meeting.

The House is in recess until 4 p.m. and the Senate is in recess until 5 p.m.

This morning, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) criticized the House Appropriations Committee for approving a supplemental budget bill with $120 million to restore the Promise Grant that would be eliminated in the 2009-10 budget pending on the House floor.

“That’s what they do,” he said. “They spend money they don’t have. At least they’re consistent.”

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