Governor Granholm today demanded that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop pass on 6 budget related bills today, which are currently being delayed in the Michigan Senate. This latest row has heightened drama in the state, already running under a temporary budget approved right before the October 1st state deadline. Granholm has already signed some budget related legislation, including for the important corrections department. However, with items like higher education and human services still not before Granholm, the state appears weeks away from another state shutdown, this time without the option of passing a temporary budget.
Not suprisingly, both sides are quick to blame the other party for the delay. Democrats believe Bishop is withholding legislation until the last minute, hoping the governor will get the blame from the resulting state shutdown. Meanwhile, Republicans say they are hoping to avoid any tax increases in the final legislation, something the governor supports as a mechanism to balance the budget. Either way, the longer the state delays, the more money it loses, because the temporary budget passed uses last years budget figures, before any of this years cuts are enacted. Further exacerbating the problem is the continued decline in state revenue, which fell in some 130 million dollars below projections made just 4 months ago. This sobering figure reinforces the need for quick action that delivers real budget reform. Otherwise, a repeat of 2007, something many citizens desperately wanted to avoid, seems likely.