First, the Free Press report on this:
LANSING -- As midnight struck, a House vote to raise the state income tax 18% was still in limbo early today, nearly 10 hours after voting began.
The voting board, which never recorded an official tally, was wiped clean and lawmakers resumed efforts to reach the needed 56 votes, quickly reaching the 43 votes they had before midnight.
Majority Democrats said they were planning what could be a long weekend waiting for a handful of Republicans to join them in supporting increasing the income tax to 4.6%
Democrats had hoped Friday would be a day of decisive action to resolve the budget crisis and avoid an Oct. 1 partial shutdown of state government. It remained unclear whether the marathon session would solve the problem.
House Speaker Andy Dillon said he hoped for a bipartisan agreement -- by Sunday. Without Republican votes for a tax increase -- there had been none all day -- it would be a harder sell in the GOP-controlled Senate, said Dillon, D-Redford Township.
In a speech earlier on the House floor, Dillon implored Republicans to join the voting for a tax increase of up to $1 billion or more, even though his party has enough votes to pass the tax hike without its GOP brethren.
But Republicans held out, saying the Legislature had done little to curb spending, which Democrats promised to do. Sort of.
There's the key in bold. Dillon has enough votes in his party to get that passed. Yet, he's playing hardball because not only does he demand a tax increase. He demands that the democrats in tough districts get get out of jail free cards so they don't have to vote against their district. This isn't just about taxes. It about the democrats CYA effort. They want to cover their butts.
And what had been months of partisan wrangling, posturing and even name-calling over how to avert a $1.75-billion deficit was reaching a pressure-cooked conclusion, for better or worse.
The deadlock revolved around a handful of Republicans whom Democrats hoped to pick off for a vote to increase the income tax from its current 3.9%.
Rep. Dick Ball, R-Owosso, said that what seems fair to Democrats seems like political suicide to Republicans.
"We can't let Republican vulnerables vote yes and walk the plank," he said, "while Democratic vulnerables are protected."
Referring to the standoff, Ball added, "as my grandmother used to say, we have a mell of a hess."
This isn't Leon Drolet or Jack Hoogendyk saying this. This is Dick Ball. When you have Dick Ball, possibly the most fiscally liberal Republican in the house saying that, then there is a major league problem. It sounds like that these hardball tactics by Dillon and Granholm are hurting chances of getting a republican on board. Ball is probably their top target, as Drolet and the Michigan Tax Alliance are also closely watching their vote.
Now as for Dillon using the Senate as an excuse, that's bullshit, and I don't use that word often on this blog. Do you really think that a budget bill that passes the house will not be altered in some way in the senate - or vice versa? When that happens, the bill goes to a conference committee before going to another vote in the house/senate. The state house also has much more of a democrat majority than the state senate has a republican majority.
Now, the Detroit News
Nerves frayed, tempers flared and words were more heated Saturday as Republicans and Democrats in the state House -- which has met almost continually since Friday morning -- struggled unsuccessfully to find common ground that will balance the state budget and avoid a government shutdown Oct. 1.
They are trying to resolve a $1.75-billion hole in next year's budget that Democrats say requires a tax hike. Republicans, demanding budget cuts and government spending reforms, continued to oppose it.
Dillon could marshal an all-Democrat favorable vote -- they control the chamber 58-52 -- but he wants it to be a bipartisan proposal involving at least 10 Republicans. Furthermore, several Democrats are in politically dicey districts and could lose reelection next year if voters are angered by a tax cut. Fifty-six votes are needed to raise the income tax.
I think the News means tax increase, but the point is clear. Again, this is a CYA effort for a get out of jail free cards for democrats who want to raise our taxes against the wishes of we the people.
It's time for the GOP house to continue to hold the line against these political games by Andy Dillon, and to make Dillon use his people in order to raise taxes. I don't want to see a bi-partisan tax increase. If that happens, it's time for a bi-partisan recall effort, including tax increasing republicans. The recall wouldn't just be for increasing taxes, but for bailing out the democrats.