“We’re on a mission from GOD.”

“Open Carry - Celebrate Your 2nd Amendment Right" Event!!! ...

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Grassroots Victory,...Precinct Delegates will nominate our Lt. Governor in 2018 ...

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Monday 6-26-17;

Michigan Republican Party, 13th Congressional District and State Committeeman - David Dudenhoefer joined Trucker Randy to talk about the proposed rule changes to allow the Governor nominee to hand pick his Lt. Governor, vs. the current rules that have the duly elected delegates at a State Convention to nominate and elect the Lt. Gov.;

Here is the complete list of the MRP - Policy Subcommittee members who will be voting on the proposed rule change later today,...call them and tell them how you feel about this rule change;

Policy Subcommittee

1st. Judi Schwalbach
C: (906) 280-0090

2nd Jack Holmes
F: 616-396-6227

3rd Matt Hall

4th Eric St. Onge
C: (989) 330-5482

5th Scott Bennet
H: 810-603-0960

6th Vic Fitz
Email: fitz.victor@gmail.com

7th Michael Brown
C: 734-255-5842
Email: mcbrown873@hotmail.com

8th Norm Shinkle
C: 517-655-5992
Email: normshinkle@gmail.com

9th Cecil St. Peirre
C:(586) 457-1800
Email: cdspjr@yahoo.com

10th Gary Howell
Email: ghowell@taylorbutterfield.com

11th Jeff Sakwa
C:(248) 808-3004

12th William Gordon
C: 734-660-7367

13th Ida Shelley
C: 734-502-3244

14th Tom Issacs
Email: tomisaacs11@gmail.com

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NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd,...Bernie Sanders said; "if the Republican Healthcare bill passes,...People will die"!!! ...

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ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", Kellyanne Conway said Debbie Stabenow and ALL of her Democrat colleagues in the U.S. Senate will NOT sit down and work with the Republicans to fix the collapsing travesty known as Obamacare; ...

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“Open Carry - Celebrate Your 2nd Amendment Right" Event!!! ...

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President Trump to AG - Jeff Sessions; “After lunch Jeff,...I need you to come to the Oval Office”. ...

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Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, claimed that the TEA Party attacked Democrats when they passed Obamacare back in 2010, comparing it to the shooting this pass Wednesday of Congressional Republicans; ...

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"This Week with George Stephanopoulos" ABC's Fake News starts with "The President's Tweet,...I'm being investigated" cut off the rest of it,...confirms "Obstruction of Justice" charges are coming",...and so it begins!!! (Happy Father's Day) ...

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Wednesday 6-14-17;

Michigan U.S. Congressman - Mike Bishop (8th District-R) made the following quote after the shooting today in Virginia;

"The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover."

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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Tuesday 6-13-17;

Line 5 Pipeline Passes First Intense Pressure Test

Enbridge shot water through one of its two pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac at pressure up to six times its daily level without incident, officials from the Canadian company reported this morning.

One of the two 20-inch Line 5 pipes withstood 1,200 pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure for four hours and 700 psi of water pressure for another four hours over the weekend with no loss of pressure or leaks, said Enbridge spokesperson Ryan DUFFY.

Enbridge will begin clearing the second line of its normal product -- light crude or natural gas -- later this week so it, too, can go through the same hydrostatic test (See “Enbridge Says Line 5 Test Will Show Its Oversight 'Has Been Working,'” 6/9/17).

Enbridge's Line 5, which runs from Superior, Wis., to Sarnia, Ontario, splits into two pipes before its enters the straits and rejoins back into a single one once it re-emerges on land.

The 60-plus-year-old pipelines are generally operated around 200 psi with a daily range of 0-300 psi. The west line closes if pressure levels fall below 65. The east closes if pressure drops below 45 psi. As a frame of reference, automobile tires are kept between 30 and 35 psi.

State and federal authorities oversaw this week's test, as did an independent contractor, who reported the findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We feel this test confirms that our maintenance efforts and projects have been effective," Duffy said.

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2018, Repeating Michigan’s History??? ...

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Wednesday, 5-31-17;

MIRS Breaking News - House, Senate Reach Target Agreements On '18 Budget -- 1:51 p.m. (5/28/17)
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

House and Senate leadership this weekend have reached "target" agreements on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget numbers and have given their subcommittee chairs numbers to begin working on final budget bills.

The $9.89 billion General Fund number was struck without the assistance of the state Budget Office and Gov. Rick SNYDER, who is not supporting the cornerstone of the legislature's top budgetary priority -- closing the teacher pension retirement system's hybrid program to new hires, which the House and Senate have set aside $475 million to address.

The agreed-upon General Fund number is $261 million less than Snyder's FY '18 proposal, $11 million more than what the House passed and $15.7 million more than what the Senate passed. The target number does not include putting $175 million into the Rainy Day Fund, as the Governor and House had wanted to do and the Senate opted against. Here are the budget numbers as they passed each chamber. Final target numbers agreed to over the weekend were not available.

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) and Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) see the $29.1 billion unfunded liability in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System or MPSERS as an issue that must be addressed as part of the budgetary process.

"The Legislature continues to move forward on the budget with MPSERS reform in mind," said Meekhof Press Secretary Amber McCANN. "The Majority Leader is pleased that Senate and House appropriations chairs were able to reach consensus on targets."

The agreement marks the first time in Snyder's tenure that the Legislature has set targets outside of the Governor. The last time this happened was in 2009, coincidently then-Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM's (See "Senate/House Leadership Agree To Target Numbers," 9/16/09) seventh budget. The 2018 budget is Snyder's seventh.

"The House and Senate have been working hard and working together to keep the budget moving forward, and this is an important step toward completing the process for the year," said Leonard Press Secretary Gideon D'ASSANDRO.

At stake is Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature's six-year streak of wrapping up the coming fiscal year's budget by the end of June. The Senate is set to adjourn for the summer June 15. The House is set to adjourn for the summer June 15 with the week of June 20 being set aside as "tentative".

Sen. Phil PAVLOV (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee, has a 1:30 p.m. Tuesday committee hearing scheduled, at which he told MIRS Monday he could hold the session's first hearing on legislation that would close MPSERS to new hires.

"If the Legislature sends us something, we will review it through the focused lens of having a responsible and balanced budget that serves Michiganders well now and into the future," said Snyder Director Communications Ari ADLER.

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Remember those who died serving in our Armed Forces,...especially today, Memorial Day!!! ...

If you don't know what an Angel Flight is, this explains it. They bring home our Fallen, this song had me in tears. To all the brothers and sisters who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and to all those families left with an empty spot at the table, this is for you. To the pilots of these flights, and to the Casualty Assistance Officers we salute you and thank you for taking care of our brothers and sisters on their final flight home. Words can never express how grateful we are that men and women like this have lived. Without them, there would be no America, and there would be no Freedom. You will never be forgotten. and your sacrifice will never be in vain. ~Bulldog1

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Opening line on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd,..."The growing Russian investigation,..." more FAKE NEWS continues!!! ...

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Wednesday, 5-24-17;

State Rep. - Scott Dianda (110th-D) called in to ask people to call their State Rep. and State Senator and tell them NOT to vote to give pay raises to the Governor, Lt. Governor, AG, SoS and the Michigan State Supreme Court Justices;

Gov Supports Raising State Officer Pay, Calley Doesn't

The State Officers Compensation Commission (SOCC) unanimously recommended restoring pay cuts applied in 2009 to the salaries of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. It also suggested a 10 percent pay increase for Supreme Court justices.

SOCC didn't recommend hiking legislators' $71,685 salary.

The Legislature, on SOCC's recommendation, cut by 10 percent the salary of the state's top four statewide elected officials -- as well as their own -- in 2009 as a reflection of the tough budgetary times the state found itself in at the time.

The lower pay went into effect in 2011 and has stayed at the level since. Supreme Court justices were not cut at that time, but they haven't received a pay increase of any kind since 2002.

By restoring the salaries to those levels, and if the Legislature goes along with the recommendation, the Governor's pay would go from $159,300 to $177,000, the Lt. Gov. will go from $111,510 to $123,900 and the Secretary of State and Attorney General would both go from $112,410 to $124,900. By restoring that pay, those are increases of 11.1 percent.

The justices' 10 percent increase would take them from $164,610 to $181,071.

The Legislature would have to adopt a concurrent resolution by a majority in both chambers to have the increases go into effect, and if so, they would go into effect for the legislative session immediately following the next general election.

The legislative chambers take turns introducing the concurrent resolution, and for these recommendations, the Senate would need to take the lead. Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) spokesperson Amber McCANN said Meekhof would review the recommendations with his caucus in the coming weeks.

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt), via spokesperson Gideon D'ASSANDRO, said today Leonard would look at the SOCC recommendations and give the Legislature time to review them. D'Assandro added Leonard had previously opposed increases for the Legislature, so "he is glad to see SOCC agreed with him on that point."

Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY, via spokesperson Laura BIEHL, came out against the pay increases, saying, "Michigan hasn't had a shortage of candidates wanting to hold these statewide roles." It wasn't clear if Calley opposed the increases for all of the officials mentioned.

Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE spokesperson Andrea BITELY said Schuette would "prefer we cut taxes before we raise salaries."

Gov. Rick SNYDER, however, came out in support of adopting the SOCC recommendations, spokesperson Anna HEATON said today, adding that "knowing that it takes effect in 2019, which is 10 years without a raise for those officials."

Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON said the proposed increase is "something for the Legislature to consider" as she would not be affected by it since she terms out before it would go into effect. Johnson spokesperson Fred WOODHAMS said she hasn't made a recommendation, however.

SOCC member James HALLAN, also president and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association, said today it's difficult for lawmakers to vote on their own compensation.

Hallan said lawmaker salaries, compared to other states, are doing well, but the executive branch salaries compared to other states are falling behind (See "COA Judge Pay Creeps Up On Justices As SOCC Begins Pay Considerations," 4/13/17).

"We're trying to have a dash of reality with a dash of comparable data, trying to be fiduciaries and recognize the political reality of the situation we're in," Hallan said.

Since 2009, the Legislature has only affirmatively adopted the biennial SOCC recommendations once, and it was for the 10 percent pay cut.

On raising salaries for the executive branch positions, Hallan said the "fear" is that those positions, if not adequately compensated, are only attractive to those who are wealthy or who are young and trying to make a name for themselves.

While none of the executive branch positions recommended for an increase responded to SOCC's invitation to comment, Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) Justice Stephen MARKMAN appeared before the commission today to give a thorough argument as to why the justices' pay should be increased.

In a statement released after the SOCC determination, Markman said, "I am pleased the Commission has responded positively to our arguments for ending the ongoing 17-year pay freeze for the Justices. The Court now looks forward to the Commission's report and to the Legislature's response."

During the meeting, Markman cited the increases in the cost of living, salaries of other state Supreme Court justices, salaries of other state employees, salaries of federal judges and the salaries private attorneys make.

The chief justice also asked that SOCC assists the MSC in "communicating to the Legislature" its recommendation.

"We are very much in need of both a favorable recommendation and for your strongest expression of support for those recommendations - why such an increase is deserved and well-merited - to the final decision-makers in this process, the elected representatives of the people," Markman wrote in his prepared remarks.

Markman referenced how the previous SOCC contingent had advocated for the bill that decoupled lower court judge salaries from the justices and instead attached them to the pay increases of certain state employees.

SOCC member Mary Kay SHIELDS considered pushing for also recommending that the justices begin receiving the pay bumps scheduled for other state employees, but after some discussion that was left out of the final motion.

Hallan suggested a "blue ribbon committee" be appointed to look at how compensation is "fairly recognized." Hallan said in the case of the Supreme Court, it's a case that the system is not working and that it needs to be revisited.

The increases recommended would also restore the cuts made to the expense allowances, which were also cut in 2009. Those increases, if approved, would take the Governor's allowance from $54,000 to $60,000 and the Lt. Gov's from $18,000 to $20,000.

The Secretary of State and Attorney General do not receive expense allowances, and neither do justices, although a previous version of this story inferred the justices do receive them.

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 5-23-17;

Bernstein Laying Foundation For Governor's Run

Attorney Mark BERNSTEIN is setting the stage for a Democratic gubernatorial run, but don't look for an announcement before or during the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac policy conference, although he's slated to be there next week.

Bernstein, the 45-year-old University of Michigan regent and head of the prominent Bernstein law firm is letting it be known among Democrats that he's putting together the machine for a 2018 run and has reached out to U.S. Rep. Dan [KILDEE] (D-Flint Twp.) about a run, numerous sources tell MIRS.

Kildee had considered his own gubernatorial run and Bernstein was going to serve as his campaign finance chair. With Kildee opting to run for re-election and continue pushing back on President Donald TRUMP (See "Kildee Not Running For Governor," 5/8/17). Bernstein is making it known that he wants a Democratic win in 2018 and he's hearing he's the person in the best position to deliver it.

A former Civil Rights Commissioner, Bernstein has heavy name ID after years of his family law firm's advertising during Detroit sporting events and network television.

In his 2012 race for the University of Michigan Board of Regents, Mark Bernstein raised $324,423 for his campaign, about $300,000 of it coming from his own pocket. He spent money on billboards and posted YouTube videos of an old school bus he outfitted for his campaign.

He won with 28 percent of the vote. His 2,259,969 votes were more than any candidate running for any education-related post. Only President Barack OBAMA and U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW collected more Michigan votes in 2012 than Mark Bernstein.

His brother, Richard BERNSTEIN, won a Michigan Supreme Court race in 2014 with 29 percent of the vote in an otherwise Republican year.

"Mark Bernstein would be easily the best candidate Michigan Democrats could nominate for Governor in 2018, both as a candidate and as a performer in office once elected," said Bill BALLENGER of the Ballenger Report. "If he decides to run, Democrats would have to have rocks in their heads not to pick him to lead their ticket. He's got the name ID, professional and political (U-M Regent) accomplishment, and he has a demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with all the partisan players. He's not a demagogue, he doesn't take cheap shots, and he's not a hypocrite."

Plus, the Bernsteins have won in the past, which sells with Democrats right now. For those who don't believe former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen WHITMER of Ingham County can get the job done in Southeast Michigan, Bernstein is a quality option.

Although political consultant Stephanie McLEAN said she sees a sort of "you-can't-have-it-because-I want-it" mentality with some Democrats looking to Bernstein or someone else after Kildee's exit as opposed to supporting Whitmer, who has been in the race since Jan. 3.

It's "you can't be coroneted because you're a woman." McLean said. "Of course, none of the boys would ever say this out loud. This is interesting on so many, many levels. Here's the question: Where do the Bernie-Bots go?"

Where do the supporters of Bernie SANDERS go? Bernstein? Whitmer? Former Detroit public health director Abdul EL-SAYED? Maybe Geoffrey FEIGER if he is serious about running this time.

"Politics is all about timing," said T.J. BUCHOLZ, president and CEO of Vanguard Public Affairs. "Without a win next year, the window wouldn't open again until 2026, and by that time, the Party will be run by different people.

"For Democrats, taking back the Governor's Office in 2018 has to be the highest priority no one race is more important to the Democratic Party. Senior leadership wants a win and they will support any candidate they believe will get them over the finish line. Whitmer and Bernstein are both capable of achieving that victory, the question comes down to who wants it more and who is more aligned with voter values in Michigan.”

On the negative side, Bernstein will need to defend against cases his law firm either worked on or referred to outside counsel in which the results were not favorable for the client. One Republican operative told MIRS that researchers are already digging into the Bernstein Law Firms voluminous cases to find those where clients didn't fair well.

"(Republicans) are going to turn the Bernstein Advantage to the Bernstein Disadvantage," the operative said.

The prevailing wisdom is that Bernstein and Whitmer would be the marquee matchup in August 2018. But where will the philosophical differences be?

John TRUSCOTT of Truscott Rossman said it's difficult at the moment to figure that out.

"That remains to be seen because, although we know where Gretchen Whitmer stands on issues we don't know yet where Bernstein stands," Truscott pointed out. "I do believe that if he gets into the race he'll have some of what was previously going to be Kildee support behind him but we just don't know yet where he'll stand on the issues."

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Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace's opening line; "Trump's Foreign Trip while investigation escalates about Trump Campaign and Russia here at home"; ...

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ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" opening line;
"Trump's High Stakes Foreign Trip, can he out run the chaos here at home"?

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Our 2nd hour history lesson with Pastor Rusty Chatfield today, 5-19-17;

Abraham Lincoln's 1860 Cooper Union speech, start at the 16:00 minute mark;


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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Thursday 5-18-17;

Female Genital Mutilation Penalty Bills Pass

Mutilating female genitalia -- for religious motives or any other reason -- would be a 15-year prison sentence under legislation that passed the Senate unanimously today. The four-bill package also creates a 15-year felony for transporting someone for the purpose of having the procedure performed on them.

"This is a very evil and demonic act," said Sen. Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge), the sponsor of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0338. "Dr. Lori POST of Yale University testified in committee that it is not about religion, it is about controlling young girls" (See "Female Genital Mutilation Ban Moves To Full Senate," 5/2/17).

"Currently, this is just a 5-year felony under federal law," said Sen. Margaret O'BREIN (R-Portage), the sponsor of SB 337, said. "It's to keep them (the girls) pure -- to keep them faithful."

On April 13, Dr. Jumana NAGARWALA of Northville was arrested on a federal charge of performing FGM on girls between the ages of 6 and 8, at a medical office in Livonia. According to news accounts, the victims were sent to Michigan from Minnesota specifically to have Nagarwala do the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). On April 14, a Livonia doctor, Fakhruddin ATTAR and his wife, Farida ATTAR, were arrested for allegedly helping Nagarwala perform the FGMs.

According to testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michigan is one of about 15 "hotspots" for FGMs in the United States due to its relatively large-and well-established communities of people of Middle Eastern heritage.

After the initial legislation (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0337 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0338) created a 15-year felony for FGM, follow-up bills (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0368 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0369) were introduced to make transporting a person for the purpose of performing a FGM a 15-year felony. Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0368 is sponsored by Sen. Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton) and SB 369 is sponsored by Sen. Judy EMMONS (R-Sheridan).

Jones said that the "whole world" was watching Michigan today as it took a stand against FGM.

"Let's be open and honest about what sort of savagery we are fighting," Emmons said. "Female genital mutilation is medically unnecessary and is usually performed to exercise control over a female's sexuality and to ensure her virginity until marriage. Specifically, it is involves the removal of part or all of the female genitalia, ranging from cutting off the hood of the clitoris to removing the entire clitoris and inner labia and then sewing together the outer labia.

"These mutilations are usually performed without anesthetic, and victims can have ongoing psychological and physical health consequences, including infection, pain and even death."

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 5-18-17;

Leonard Drives A Spike Through Using Road Money For Pensions

Legislative leaders' hunt for a dedicated revenue stream to pay off the $29 billion teacher pension system need not bother sniffing around the transportation package any further.

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) said he will not support any plan that would use the $600 million in General Fund money dedicated from the 2015 road package to support any proposed closing of the hybrid teacher retirement system to new hires (See "Albert Says State Has 'Proven' It Cannot Run Pension Programs," 5/16/17).

In recent days, state Budget Director Al PSCHOLKA suggested to lawmakers behind the scenes that completely closing the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System or MPSERS would require a dedicated revenue source long-term.

Estimates circulating around the House have closing the hybrid system created under the Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM administration -- when added to the current debt -- could cost between $400 million each year over the next 40 years or $600 million each year over the next 20-some years.

But either way you cut it, Pscholka is arguing it's too big of an expense to not dedicate a funding stream. To articulate the extent of what would be needed to close MPSERS responsibility, Pscholka used the $600 million in road funding as an example of what could be done.

MIRS asked him today if this suggestion is possible.

"Is it possible? That's speculation. If you were looking at straight math, does that kind of work? Yes. Would it garner any support in the Legislature? I think probably not," Pscholka said. "I wouldn't call it practical."

Pscholka is right. As far as Leonard is concerned, it's not practical at all.

"Steve COOK is more likely to support that plan than I am," quipped Leonard in reference to the Michigan Education Association president..

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 5-16-17;

Leonard Says CPL License Repeal '226 Years Overdue'

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) today supported the repeal of the state law requiring a special license for carrying a concealed pistol, telling MIRS, "This bill is 226 years overdue."

Leonard is referring to the U.S. Constitution with that statement.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) is holding a hearing on a four-bill Conceal Pistol License (CPL) package during a special 2:30 p.m. hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Under current law, individuals can carry a weapon openly without a permit, but covering the weapon with a coat puts them in violation of the law (See "New Bills Would Eliminate Need For Permit To Carry Concealed" 3/28/17).

A couple weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) was asked his opinion on repealing the CPL law.

"I do think that folks should be well versed in using a firearm and know when not to use a firearm," he said. "I've always advocated for the safe use of a firearms. If you are going to carry a firearm, you are responsible for all of your actions . . .

"I don't know if the licenses we have gives the public the greatest assurances that they're well trained. I'm open to the idea, but nobody is proposing anything that I'm excited about," Meekhof said.

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Our 1st hour today, Tuesday 5-16-17;

Prevailing Wage Repeal Going Back To Canvassers

Free market advocates are going back to the Board of State Canvassers this week with a second attempt to spike the state's 50-year-old prevailing wage law, which requires workers employed on state-financed construction projects to receive the local area's negotiated union pay rate.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is again leading the effort with freedom-minded interest groups like the Freedom Fund providing financial support.

"This has always been on our agenda, a full repeal of Michigan's prevailing wage law," said ABC State Director Jeff WIGGINS. "When you have legislative leaders like Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF(R-West Olive) publicly stating they want to get this done with Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001, what more incentive do you need with this type of willing Legislature?"

The Senate has made repealing prevailing wage its top legislative priority for two straight sessions, but a lack of support from the Governor has kept the issue from moving in the Legislature (See "Prevailing Wage Repeal Returns As SB 1," 1/18/17). This year, unlike in 2015, the House has yet to introduced a prevailing law repeal.

However, if Wiggins' Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) is successful, no legislation is needed. First, the Board of State Canvassers must make sure the initiative's ballot wording meets legal muster to prevent future logistical hazards.

If PMT gathers roughly 252,000 valid signatures within a 180-day window, the House and Senate have 40 days to approve it and it will go into law without the Governor's signature. If either chamber votes the measure down or declines to take it up, it will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Monday 5-15-17;

Gov. Rick [SNYDER] has often said, "If you want a really sweet job, run for governor in 2038," which is when he's projecting the state's unfunded liability will be shored up. But various tax moves Snyder helped instigate since being in office isn't making the job look all that appealing in 2022.

Between the personal property tax (PPT) repeal, the 2015 transportation package and the decision to continue to honor old Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) credits, the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) forecasted this week the state is looking at a $2.072 billion General Fund hole in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

The gradual loss of state revenue or dedicated new spending comes at a year when, adjusted for inflation, Michigan's $10.3 billion General Fund is smaller than it was in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000, according to the SFA. The agency also reports that the General Fund's buying power is at 1967 levels, basically a 50-year low.

The upshot from the SFA's document is that the General Fund may grow to $11.5 billion by FY '23, but with all of the planned tax cuts and new dedicated funding program, the available revenue to fund the state government that is currently operating on $10.3 billion will be $9.45 billion.

And that's presuming the economy stays stable and no other major policy changes are made. It also subtly notes that presumed economic growth has done little to fill the holes created by such things as the PPT phase-out revenue replacement, which was basically presumed use tax revenue increases from a better economy.

That hasn't panned out.

Instead, the SFA is projecting that the repeal of PPT -- the tax on manufacturing equipment -- will cost the General Fund $492.8 million in FY '23. There's the $600 million for roads that is supposed to be spent. The higher homestead exemption will cost $218.3 million. The MEGA credits projected at $589.2 million.

About a dozen changes like shielding corporate officer tax liability, "the sales tax on the difference," and the data center tax package is going to cost another $73.3 million.

And that's if the state doesn't dip into another cyclical economic recession at some point in the next five years, in which case the situation will be worse.

These numbers did take into account some positive revenue the state is expected to receive, like the projected $84.5 million from the Blue Cross Blue Shield mutualization of 2013, Treasury's reinforced ability to tax affiliate nexuses and medical marijuana sales tax revenue.

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Monday 5-15-17;

Call ABC and tell them NOT to cancel "Last Man Standing"!!!

Call; 818-460-7477. Then push 1, then 2, then 2, then 527 and leave a message (up to :30 seconds);

Tim Allen's Show Quickly Nixed: Too Conservative, Too Wholesome

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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Friday 5-12-17;

Are these protesters real people with real problems over the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare),.... or are they paid disrupters???

Start this video at the 7:30 minute mark;


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Our 3rd hour discussion today, Wednesday 5-10-17;

Great decision President Trump to FIRE James Comey as our FBI Director!!! However,...these questions and answers on May 5th, 2017 are the REAL reasons and final straws that got him fired,....THANK YOU SENATOR TED CRUZ OF TEXAS!!!


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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 5-9-17;

Snyder Cracks Door On Closing MPSERS; 'New Data' May 'Make It More Feasible'

When Gov. Rick SNYDER sided with the education community in lame duck on Republicans' efforts to close the teacher retirement system to new hires, he said the transition costs to make the change were too high. That ended up being enough to kill the GOP move.

Today, for the first time, the Governor is hinted those numbers may have been too high.

Speaking briefly with reporters on Monday, Snyder noted he still supported the hybrid system, but just as Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF suggested last week, Snyder reported some new data is being churned.

"I think there is some new data out there that could actually say some of the challenges that were presented regarding transitional costs might be somewhat less," he said.

Asked to clarify that answer Snyder responded, "Some of the transitional costs proposed in the past (by his department) may be lower than what they were originally . . . in terms of prior presentations. That might make it more feasible to do some of the things they're talking about." The Governor quickly added, "It's still yet to be determined."

The comments seem to jive with what Meekhof and Rep. Tim KELLY (R-Saginaw) told MIRS last week, that Snyder was getting new data that could reframe the debate with the supporters of the current system.

The Governor did not reveal the amount of the new figures, but the original number was anywhere between $3-$5 billion. The chair of the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, Kelly, is hoping that will bring the Governor over to the side of the two GOP legislative leaders.

Meanwhile, closing Michigan's teacher pension system and forcing new hires into 401(k) accounts would "spend a lot more money to get people a lot less benefit," said Nick CIARAMITARO, a former Democratic lawmaker and legislative director for AFSCME Council 25.

Michigan's teacher pension system under the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System or MPSERS isn't "broken" as the Speaker of the House contended last week, Ciaramitaro said. Rather, the state's hybrid retirement plan, adopted in 2012, is working and is fully funded, he contended.

"I agree with the governor that the MSPERS system, as we have it with the last reform, the 2012 reforms creating a hybrid system, is working," Ciaramitaro said. "It's 100 percent pre-funded in the hybrid portion and the major costs are in the old system. I think we've pretty much fixed that. I think . . . where we would disagree with Speaker Tom LEONARD's (R-DeWitt) Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) is that they are arguing at this point that we should spend an enormous amount of money to close a system that is basically working and create a system that provides significantly less benefits to the people involved."

Leonard last week said fixing the state's "broken teacher retirement system" is now his top priority. Former House Fiscal Agency (HFA) Director Mitch BEAN said the state would need to come up with $680 million in 2018 and $1.1 billion in 2019 and 2020 to cover the closing MPSERS (See "Study: Closing MPSERS Won't Save Money 'In My Lifetime,'" 5/3/17). The Anderson Economic Group (AEG) released a report last week for the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) that said closing the hybrid system would cost school districts between $223 million to $813 million annually by 2048. (See "Senate Budget Leaves $542M 'uncommitted' For Likely MPSERS Reform," 5/3/17).

Meekhof said he would provide different numbers for those costs in the near future.

The state's two largest teacher unions also defended the current hybrid system.

"Changes made to the teacher retirement system in 2012 are working. The new hybrid system is fully funded and there is a pathway to paying down the debt," Doug PRATT, Director of Public Affairs for the Michigan Education Association (MEA) said today. "The changes that are being talked about, which are similar to what was shot down in lame duck, do nothing other that skyrocket the costs facing the state over the coming decade. Closing the system to new hires would cost upwards of $500 million in just the first year. Senate Fiscal pegged it at $3.8 billion over five years."

David HECKER, president of the American Federation of Teacher (AFT) Michigan, also believes the current system is working and forcing new hires into 401(k)s at this point will only make a teacher shortage in Michigan worse.

"We want the best and brightest in front of our kids and a defined benefit plan provides retirement security that is something that teachers value," Hecker said. "It helps bring them into the profession, a profession that is so underpaid. At least some retirement security is a big part of that and it helps keep them teaching. You know there is a big turnover in teachers for a variety of reasons, but defined benefit program helps to keep teachers teaching."

But the current leadership is getting support from at least one past leader.

"We may not be able to dig out of this hole during some retirees' lifetimes, but we must stop digging the hole to help the lifetimes of our kids and grandkids," said former House Speaker Jase BOLGER, currently a conservative policy advisor for the West Michigan Policy Forum. "Not accruing more debt isn't why it'll take so much money to pay it back; getting into so much debt in the past is what makes it hard to repay."

In the past, Bolger advocated for the hybrid plan, but he said he no longer believes that is what's best for the future of the state.

Still, Ciaramitaro contends that the trend of moving employees away from pensions and toward 401(k)s has not worked. In fact, a recent study by the National Institute of Retirement Services of closed pension plans, he said, showed that "for all the additional money we are spending, (the annuity) would be 20 to 22 percent less than what the pension plan provides."

He contended that "the great move today for both the public and the private sector is toward the hybrid plans."

In fact, Ciaramitaro predicted there is coming a public policy crisis resulting from people not having enough money to retire and not having enough to pay for health care in retirement.

"Maybe not in 10 years but certainly within 30 years we are looking a huge crisis in health care costs because they won't have enough to pay in their health retirement accounts. We will end up with a health care crisis. We already have a retirement crisis in that a lot of people are working well past the normal retirement age," he said.

Pratt said he believes the push to again reform the teacher pension system is driven by ideology.

"I think they should be open minded and consider all sides and not simply take the word of their leadership who clearly are motivated more by ideology than by real numbers. When you've got state economists, a conservative economist like Pat Anderson, economists like Mitch Bean all saying the same general thing, this is going to cost a lot of money up front and it is not going to save us a dime for decades, they should stop for a second and listen, look at the real numbers, get around the political ideology for a minute and look at what is best for their constituents," Pratt said.

Hecker attributed the current push to reform teacher pensions again to the influence of the DeVos family, Amway founder Richard DeVOS and his daughter-in-law and now U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVOS. He said the AFT will try to counter that by mobilizing his members to speak out to their legislators.

"There are two ways to move legislators," Hecker said. "One is with money, like the DeVoses. The other is to have constituents weigh in. We don't have the money that the DeVoses do, so we concentrate on having our members weigh in on the issues."

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Monday 5-8-17;

Closing MPSERS Doesn't Need To Mean Huge Upfront Payments

If legislative leaders convince Gov. Rick SNYDER to close the teachers' pension system to new hires, a Mackinac Center official says huge, upfront payments to cover the state's fixed unfunded liability aren't mandatory.

Government finance actuaries recommend a "smoothing out" of costs as opposed to plunking down a lot of costs up front, said James HOHMAN, assistant director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center, quoting the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

It's true that if the Legislature opts to frontload its payments to cover promised benefits to the state's teachers in the Michigan Public Schools Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) in a closed system, it will save the state more money over time.

"But nobody is forcing the state to do it that way," Hohman said.

In fact, paying off the state's MPSERS liability through stable, mortgage-style payments year after year would be an improvement to what state officials are doing now. As it stands, the state is scheduled to keep making payments to a system that goes beyond the working lives of the participants.

For eight of the last 10 years, they haven't paid their full actuarially determined contribution and their smoothing methods have been biased relative to the market.

"The state's Office of Retirement Services (ORS) ignores or claims best practices when it suits its interests," Hohman said. "That attitude is why Michigan's pension systems are tens of billions of dollars in debt."

On Wednesday, former House Fiscal Agency (HFA) Director Mitch BEAN said the state would need to come up with $680 million in 2018 and $1.1 billion in 2019 and 2020 to cover the closure of MPSERS' hybrid retirement plan if they want to (See "Study: Closing MPSERS Won't Save Money 'In My Lifetime,'" 5/3/17).

Hohman argues Bean's numbers are based on Office of Retirement Services (ORS) numbers that are out of date because the state has ratcheted down its expected percentage of return on their investments from 8 to 7.5 percent.

But presuming the ORS' numbers are accurate, Hohman argues the state doesn't need to front-load its payments as Bean suggests would be a more prudent strategy. Rather, even if the state adopts a stable payment schedule that resembles mortgage payments, they'll be doing better than what they're doing now.

"I would agree that it would be more prudent, but the state cannot afford to it right now," Hohman said. "However, not paying those costs and maintaining our backloaded schedule is exactly as prudent as the state's current policies, and is not something that is mandated if they decide to close MPSERS."

Last winter, the state's two teachers' union may have won the battle during lame duck to block the closure of their defined benefit retirement system to new hires (See "Teacher Pension Reform Stalled In Senate," 12/1/16).

But Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) and House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) are vowing to fix Michigan's "broken teacher retirement system" and want to do it in conjunction with the year's budget (See "Leonard: Fixing Pensions Could Lead To More Classroom Dollars, Pay Raises," 5/4/17).

Clearly, several of their Republican legislative colleagues are on board and hope to get the Governor there, too.

"We might bring him around. He is warming up. He's not there," conceded Rep. Tim KELLY (R-Saginaw), chair of the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.

Sen. Curtis HERTEL, Jr. (D-East Lansing), with the Michigan Education Association (MEA) headquarters in his East Lansing backyard, is watching all this without any joy.

"I think this has to do with the fact that they don't respect teachers," Hertel said. "We de-professionalize this profession. Teachers are frustrated. Many are leaving and not a lot are going into it and the more you de-professionalize, it's harder and harder to get people to do it."

Kelly said the Republicans are not attacking the unions. He said this is not about kicking current retirees out of the current system but rather, "this is about closing off new entrants."

And that's the point Hertel countered. He argued you need new members coming into the hybrid system to keep it solvent.

Kelly reacted with this point, "That would expose this, then, as a Ponzi Scheme and we're not suppose to be running a Ponzi Scheme."

Asked what would happen if the current system is not changed, Kelly was direct, "We collapse . . . even before we get there we just would stop making payments . . . This is about saving what's there and protecting those that already have this and making a better option to those incoming teachers."

Those new teachers could carry with them to a new career their 401(k)s instead of leaving their retirement dollars on the table if they leave.

"They are throwing money away," Kelly said. "We want them to have a mobile 401(k) to take with them."

Hertel concluded with, "I don't think it has anything to do with saving the system."

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 5-4-17;

Senate Budget Leaves $542M 'uncommitted' For Likely MPSERS Reform

The Senate is bringing $542 million in uncommitted money to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 negotiating table with Gov. Rick SNYDER and House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt). Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) made it clear today what his priority would be with the unallocated cash.

Closing the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System or MPSERS, the state's teacher pension system, to new hires (See "Meekhof Broaching MPSERS Discussion Again," 4/21/17).

"We need to stop digging the hole," Meekhof said, referring to a system in which the $29 billion unfunded liability number continues to increase despite the administration's efforts to curb costs.

His comments come the same day Great Lakes Economic Consulting's Mitch BEAN estimates that converting the system to a 401(k)-style defined contribution system will cost $680 million in 2018.

Also, the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) released a report for the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) that finds closing the hybrid system would cost school districts between $223 million to $813 million annually by 2048.

But Meekhof said he hadn't seen the studies. Asked how seriously they should be taken, he answered, "Depends who paid for them." For his part, the Senate Majority Leader has his own numbers that are being tabulated that will contrast with those of the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) from last December, which showed reports of the state's liabilities being "grossly inflated" (See "State Questions Report Ranking MI's Retirement Liabilities 9th Highest," 11/18/16).

Meekhof and Snyder met today, during which Meekhof was left with the impression that the Governor recognized that his folks in ORS "didn't do a very good job" during that December hearing.

"We've gathered some new information to present to him and I don't think he was all that impressed with the folks who work with him at ORS," Meekhof said. "Because they didn't do him, or the people of Michigan, a very good service."

Asked about Meekhof's comments, Snyder Press Secretary Anna HEATON said, "We aren't sure where or how the Senate Majority Leader got that impression, and I'm not going to speak for him. What the Governor did share with leadership is that he is open to reviewing any MPSERS proposal they put forward, and he is waiting to be presented with information on how the budget will be affected over the next several years."

The Senate saved $275 million by trimming proposed increases in the Governor's FY 2018 budget recommendation, $266 million by not making the Rainy Day Fund deposit the Governor suggested, $20 million by not doing the Governor's proposed infrastructure fund and not all or some of the Flint spending Snyder wanted.

If the $540 million in "uncommitted dollars" are being used to help close MPSERS, Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) called it a "backward look."

"They have a philosophy that people should work until they can't work anymore and may be lucky enough to live with a family member so they can have a descent retirement," Ananich said. He said that any unfunded liability in MPSERS is a "manufactured crisis" created by Republicans bent on fiddling with a system that had been working fine.

In other budget-related news today, the Senate passed five of its 16 individuals budgets and handled preliminary amendments for the several of the remaining 11.

Unlike the House, the Senate is passing each department budget out individually and taking roll call votes on the Democrats' various failed amendments.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development budget passed unanimously. The Department of Natural Resources passed on a party-line vote. The Department of Environmental Quality passed 26-12 with Sen. Tory ROCCA (R-Sterling Heights) voting no with the Democrats. The K-12 budget passed 23-15 with Sens. Rocca, Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge), Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage) and Dale ZORN (R-Ida) voting no with Democrats.

The Department of Health and Human Services budget passed, 25-13, with Rocca and Sen. Judy EMMONS (R-Sheridan) voting no.

The only significant dollar change made to the budget was an extra $1.4 million tucked into the K-12 budget to prevent around 20 schools from losing state funding when the chamber folded the $100 million direct payment to the teachers' pension system into the regular foundation allowance.

The Rep. Martin KNOLLENBERG (R-Troy) amendment was pushed through without much debate.

The Senate's total $56.1 billion budget proposal is a 1.7 percent increase from the current '17 recommendation. The $9.9 billion in General Fund spending in the Senate's plan is a 2.2 percent decrease from the current year.

These numbers could change after the May 17 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) resets estimates on much money the state should expect in the coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 5-3-17;

'Big Bus' Rolls Through House With $283M In Reserves

A sharply divided House pushed through a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending plan this evening that spends $272 million less than what Gov. Rick SNYDER recommended, which put Democrats in the politically odd position of defending Republican governor's budget proposal.

With the Republican-majority setting aside a combined $283 million for potentially a modest tax break or a down payment for teacher pension reforms, Snyder's comparatively generous spending increases looked to Democrats like a pot of gold at the rainbow's end.

"You know you could have done better," said House Minority Leader Sam SINGH (D-East Lansing), told House Republicans, essentially challenging them to put the $283 million into the roads, local governments or the other services they declined to fund at the Governor's levels.

Unlike the bare-bones budgets of 2008-2010, in which programs were cut or eliminated because the state didn't have money, the FY '18 Big Bus mostly trimmed or eliminated the Governor's spending increases.

This allowed the House Republicans to increase spending under the inflation rate while being able to claim they cut few services.

"We have crafted a budget that invests in our classrooms, puts millions more than last year in local communities for vital services, and prioritizes spending for more road and bridge repairs," said House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia).

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4323, known as the "Big Bus" or the omnibus for FY 2018, uses $8.39 billion in General Fund spending that was relatively unchanged from what came out of the House Appropriations Committee (See "Leonard Prefers MPSERS Over Income Tax Cut As Part of Budget," 4/27/17).

Cox successfully added $300,000 to a pregnancy and parenting program using Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), boasting one line-item to $700,000.

Rep. Brandt IDEN (R-Oshtemo Twp.) won an $850,000 "genomic"-based demonstration program in Kalamazoo County to study ways to combat opioid abuse among the county's Medicaid population.

The budget passed on a mostly 60-47 party-line vote. Reps. John REILLY (R-Oakland), Steve JOHNSON (R-Wayland) and Martin [HOWARLYK] (R-Troy) were the only Republicans to vote against the budget. No Democrats supported it.

Democrats offered around 20 amendments. Not a single one was adopted despite vigorous attempts to get roll call vote for several of the amendments (See related story).

From mental health to environmental protections to senior citizen funding to local governments, Democrats tried unsuccessfully to restore funding to Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4323, leading Rep. Pam FARIS (D-Clio) calling the document "half a bubble off plumb."

Reps. Darrin CAMILLERI (D-Brownstown Twp.), Sylvia SANTANA (D-Detroit), Brian ELDER (D-Bay City), Terry SABO (D-Muskegon), Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit), Stephanie CHANG (D-Detroit), Faris and Singh all took swings at the budget -- whether for continuing down the privatization road or not investing enough in various "priorities."

"How can we leave $280 million unaccounted for when your roads are so embarrassing," said Elder, adding that the House is looking at the budget like renters, not owners.

"Schools on life support? Not our problem. Communities are seeing less state support? Not our problem," Elder said. "That's not the right attitude."

Singh accused the Republicans of leaving as much as $200 million in federal money on the table, which he called a "disappointing" and an "artificial crisis" created to clear the way for a "gimmick" -- whether it's a tax cut or "attacking pensions."

But Cox saw a budget in which more money is going into the roads, the state's commitment to reducing violent crime in Flint and other troubled cities continues and enough was shoved into the Rainy Day Fund to create a $1 billion savings account.

The budget reduces overall general state spending by 2.2 percent. It also included a couple amendments from Rep. Daniela GARCIA (R-Holland) designed to provide protections for consumers of Community Mental Health programs and invest in additional resources for capital improvements to enhance educational opportunities for agricultural food processing.

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Our 1st hour discussion today, Friday 4-28-17;

Leonard Prefers MPSERS Over Income Tax Cut As Part Of Budget

A $39.4 billion state government spending plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 moved out of the House Appropriations Committee today with roughly $280 million left on the balance sheet and a majority Republican caucus eyeing teacher pension reform as a top priority.

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) told reporters today that his caucus would like to see individual tax relief, retiring debt and putting more money into infrastructure as top priorities after having trimmed $272 million off of Gov. Rick SNYDER's budget recommendation.

But when asked which of the three would be his top priority, Leonard said, "I think I've been very clear from the day that I've been elected speaker of the house back in November that my top priority was fixing our broken teacher retirement system or MPSERS. My absolute top priority since the day I was elected speaker of the house. If that is something we can get accomplished, I'm for it."

This puts Leonard on the same page of Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-Olive Twp.), who told MIRS on Friday that reforming the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System was his top budgetary priority for FY '18 (See "Meekhof Broaching MPSERS Discussion Again," 4/21/17).

Despite efforts from Snyder and Republican lawmakers to curtail the rising unfunded liability with MPSERS, a report released last month bumped up on-paper debt in the teacher pension's system from $26.7 billion to $29.1 billion. It went from roughly 63 percent funded to 60.1 percent funded.

Part of that rise is due to a lower rate of return, but fiscal conservative think tanks are questioning if the state has a proper handle on the costs.

Leonard's comments run counter to the House Republicans' zeal to move an income tax rollback this session, which would prevent a standoff with Snyder over the issue (See "House Income Tax Cut Dies In Dramatic Fashion," 2/22/17).

Reporters asked the Governor today if he was "enthusiastic about a tax rollback," to which he responded, "I don't see a rollback really being that viable at this point in time. I think that is challenging."

Snyder said Michigan government does not have a lot of "on-going dollars" to do an income tax rollback. Michigan does have some one-time funds at its disposal, which leaves him more amenable to potentially a one-time tax rebate.

Leonard said, "We'll see how the discussions go. I'm proud of the fact that our appropriations committee did their due diligence, did their work, scaled back the budget. And now we can have those conversations."

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4323, the "Big Bus" omnibus bill, includes funding for everything except K-12 funding, higher education and community colleges. It uses $8.39 billion in General Fund spending. Spending within the budget was not substantively changed from what moved out of the various appropriations subcommittees.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia) said the committee's goal was to spend less state money in FY '18 than it is doing this year. And it was all achieved "with a 2.2 percent reduction in the state budget."

"This budget prioritize issues that are important to Michigan residents -- schools, higher education, public safety, physical and mental health," Cox said. "I am proud of the fiscal responsibility demonstrated by the subcommittee chairs and the hard work they put into drafting an efficient and accountable budget that works for all Michiganders."

The budget bill moved to the House floor for expected action next week along a party-line vote. Rep. Robert KOSOWSKI (D-Westland) and Rep. Sylvia SANTANA (D-Detroit) opted not to vote on reporting the bill.

Rep. Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit) and other Democrats voted against the budget, saying House Republicans were making room "to give massive tax breaks to their wealthy friends."

"We all know that Michigan families are in desperate need of tax relief, but this is not the way to go about doing it," Durhal said. "We cannot decimate critical programs like Meals on Wheels or the Michigan Conservation Corps, or continue to slash revenue sharing and other funds for local municipalities, and expect people to want to live in Michigan."

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