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Presidential primary, absent voting, subsidies ate the budget.
Only two roll call votes occurred in the full House and Senate this week. Two substantive committee votes are also described in this report.
Senate Bill 44, Hold GOP presidential primary on March 15, 2016: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate
To require the Republican presidential primary election to be conducted on March 15, 2016, rather than Feb. 23 as currently required.
Senate Bill 44, Bieda “no reason absentee voting” amendment: Failed 26 to 12 in the Senate
To tie-bar the presidential primary bill to Senate Bill 59, meaning it cannot become law unless SB 59 does also. SB 59 would eliminate the requirement that a person give one of the reasons specified in statute for requesting an absentee ballot.
Budget Shortfall Executive Order Vote
This week Gov. Rick Snyder issued an executive order trimming $102.9 million of state spending in the current fiscal year, as required by the state constitution when spending exceeds projected revenue. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved the order, which is also required by the constitution for it to go into effect.
Although state revenue collections are actually rising faster than spending in the current year, a shortfall occurred because corporations and developers who were granted selective “tax credit” deals by the previous two administrations are reportedly “cashing in” $351 million more of these this year than originally projected. These deals extend as much as 20 years into the future, and in many cases the “credits” are actually taken as cash payments from the state. (Government secrecy prevents discovering the amount taken in cash.)
The largest cut in the executive order isn’t really a “cut” but is removing $16 million from the budget that had been appropriated for disaster relief but not spent. The largest real cut is reducing state subsidies paid to film producers this year from $50 million to $38 million. Another $17.8 million will be saved by trimming a number of Department of Corrections programs and prison expenses. The rest of the cuts are smaller amounts spread across a broad range of government programs.
Here are the House and Senate Appropriation Committees roll call votes on the executive order:
Republicans in favor: Jon Bumstead, Chris Afendoulis, John Bizon, Edward Canfield, Laura Cox, Cindy Gamrat, Larry Inman, Nancy Jenkins, Tim Kelly, Michael McCready, Aaron Miller, Paul Muxlow, Dave Pagel, Al Pscholka, Earl Poleski, Greg Potvin, Rob VerHeulen, Roger Victory
Republicans opposed: None
Democrats in favor: Harvey Santana
Democrats opposed: Brian Banks, Brandon Dillon, Fred Durhal III, Jon Hoadley, Jeff Irwin, Kristy Pagan, Sarah Roberts, Sam Singh, Henry Yanez, Adam Zemke
Republicans in favor: Dave Hildenbrand, Peter MacGregor, Goeff Hansen, Jim Stamas, Tonya Schuitmaker, Marty Knollenberg, Darwin L Booher, John Proos, Mike Nofs, Mike Green, Jim Marleau
Republicans opposed: None
Democrats in favor: David Knezek
Democrats opposed: Vincent Gregory, Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Curtis Hertel Jr., Coleman Young II
Republican Mike Shirkey was absent.