Business carries a big stick in this town. Given the fact that their party, the GOP, controls just about everything that moves, business should be getting everything it wants.
You would think that.
There are three major items on the business agenda but yet all three are in various stages of near life support.
Item: Transportation funding. The governor wants $1.2 billion. The Chamber of Commerce wants $1.2 billion. The GOP-controlled House Transportation committee did not and took it out of the budget this week. The Tea Party wants no part of a tax increase yet the chamber knows the only way to get to that number is to find a huge new revenue source.
Item: The governor wants to bring 400,000 of the state's truly needy, who don't have insurance, into the federal Medicaid insurance system. The Small Business Association of Michigan is on board claiming it's not only a cost saver but may even create new jobs. Those are things Republicans love unless you are a Tea Party GOPer and that wing of the party has this one tied up in knots as it wants nothing to do with Obamacare.
Item: The Business Leaders of Michigan have been trumpeting the virtues of grinding out more college grads. After cutting higher ed by 15% last year and slicing and dicing it for the last decade, the GOP legislature has offered up, with the gov's blessing, a whopping 2.2% boost for next year. That's not exactly the billion dollar number the BLM has been tossing around.
Can you say disconnect?
It's painfully clear for business that just because it wants something, right now it's not an automatic gimme.
Those leaders, foolishly believe that if they can explain to recalcitrant lawmakers why they should do this, those folks will vote yes. You can make a logical case for more road funding because it will save tax dollars down the road.
You can make the same logical argument for insuring the uninsured which will save money by getting them out of the ultra-expensive ER and into the cheaper doctor's office. Everyone wins.
Likewise the higher ed logic is born out in other states that are prospering because they have more college grads.
It's politics that carries weight in this town and all three items are political non-starters for many R's. It's a case of, don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.
Hence business can huff and puff all it wants but on these three, it is O for life so far.
KDFW FOX 4
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