Michigan Republicans, Taxes — February 23, 2017 at 9:34 am

UPDATED x2: House Republicans crash and burn in attempt to decimate state budget with tax cut


In the wee hours of the morning today after a marathon 12-hour session, House Republicans, led by House Speaker Tom Leonard, face-planted mightily in an effort to blow a $1.1 BILLION hole in the state budget by reducing the state income tax over the next four years. Their original salvo was to eliminate the state income tax altogether, an idea so ludicrous that they had to retreat to a less-outrageous-but-still-outrageous “fake concession“.

After cajoling the Republican caucus throughout the day but still unable to round up enough votes, I’m told Speaker Leonard resorted to threatening to reduce staff allotments, strip away committee chair positions, and taking away parking privileges for recalcitrant House members. Despite this, House Bill 4001 went down in flames on a 55-52 vote. Twelve Republicans voted with all but one member of the Democratic caucus, Rep. Scott Dianda from Calumet in the Upper Peninsula, to kill the odious legislation:

Image courtesy of Rep. Adam Zemke

This is a major embarrassment for the new House Speaker. Leonard apparently thought he could bully his fellow Republicans into following him like lemmings over the cliff, taking the entire state with him. It’s good to know that there are at least some Republicans in Michigan who haven’t completely lost their minds.

However, Leonard isn’t taking this sitting down. He stripped Rep. Jason Sheppard of his position as Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, accusing him of lying about his vote:

[F]ollowing Thursday’s unsuccessful vote, Leonard accused Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, of lying about his position on the tax cut legislation and stripped him of his role as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

“The representative from Monroe County looked me in the eyes, told me he was going to be a yes vote, and voted no,” he told reporters before announcing Sheppard’s chairmanship will be filled by Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica.

It remains to be seen if he will take action against the other 11 Republicans who didn’t obey their master and vote to blow up our state budget, putting Michigan into a fiscal crisis, the likes of which would require an Emergency Manager if it were happening to a school or municipality.

UPDATE: Well, THIS is interesting:

Rep. Pagel is a REPUBLICAN and my sources tell me he is going to be making accusations of improper behavior by Speaker Leonard in trying to pass this hideous legislation. This looks an awful lot like an insurrection. Pop the popcorn and stay tuned.

UPDATE 2: And, just like that, the press conference is cancelled:

That sound you hear is the sound of Republican deals being made and arms being twisted. What a bunch of rookies. Honestly, how do we lose to these guys?

Oh, yeah: gerrymandering.