Published: Monday, January 17, 2011, 12:04 PM Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 10:41 AM
Day 17: This is one in a series assessing key developments during Gov. Rick Snyder’s self-imposed 182 days to chart a new course for Michigan. For earlier posts on these efforts by the Capitol’s political leaders, go to mlive.com/stateofchange.
Gov. Rick Snyder this week is putting the finishing touches on a State of the State address Wednesday that’s expected to provide widely anticipated detail on how he’ll reconcile an ambitious campaign agenda with the realities of a challenged state budget.
On Tuesday, the Senate Republican majority will hold a retreat in Eaton County to piece together their agenda for the new year. Republicans who run the House unveiled some of their initiatives last week.
What about the Democrats?
Mostly they’re praising Snyder’s positive, bipartisan rhetoric as they prepare to criticize plans by Republican legislative leaders who say it’s time for some budget “suffering.”
Which tone Snyder selects on Wednesday could determine which side of the partisan divide stands up and applauds and which side sits on its hands. Snyder has been saying some things Democrats profess to like. Republicans, on the other hand, haven’t been shy about proposing some things that a Snyder administration might not embrace.
When Snyder chose Maura Corrigan to run the Department of Human Services, the former Supreme Court justice said “no one would be left behind” in a Snyder administration including the “most vulnerable among us, children who are abused and neglected, the homeless, the poor, the disaffected.”
Less than a week later, House Republicans said they would pass a strict 48-month time limit for welfare benefits and were targeting an income tax credit for the working poor.
“We need to work together to formulate a bipartisan plan to make Lansing more accountable…” says partisan warrior Mark Brewer, Democratic party chair. “Democrats agree with Gov. Snyder that this plan should make sure everyone shares in the sacrifice and no one is left behind.”
And when House Speaker Jase Bolger said “uncomfortable” topics like a “right-to-work” law would be taken up, Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO said he agreed “with Gov. Snyder when he says it’s a divisive issue and there are many more important things we ought to be working on in Michigan.”
In their examination of tax breaks, Republicans singled out one of the signature efforts of the Granholm administration, lucrative credits for advanced batteries for cars and electric storage. Democrats, as the Center for American Progress has, are likely to remind the GOP that Snyder backed said credits in the general election campaign.
Snyder’s approach suggests that a governor doesn’t have to always pick sides because policies that seek to earn the support of competing ideologies are the best policies. He’s right about that. His speech will make it clearer as to whether it’s doable.
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