The Democratic governor met face to face today with the two Republican leaders on crafting a deal to fix the roads.
They had the meeting but what was accomplished?
There was a farmers market on the Capitol lawn where lots of deals were made.
The same can not be said for the Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the two Republican leaders who huddled to work a deal on roads.
Skubick: “You’re not going to get a deal today, are you?”
House Speaker Lee Chatfield: “Tell ya what. You go run for governor and get elected and we’ll talk in private.”
And off they went into a hour long, closed door, no media meeting.
There are a host of unresolved issues, starting with getting “yes” votes to raise the gas tax to fix the roads.
The “yes” votes would likely be there in the Republican Senate.
But over in the House? That’s a deeper problem.
“It’s a little difficult in the House, no question,” explains Rep. Graham Filler. “Because you just got people who are very careful when you vote on new revenue.”
Translated, politicians running for re-election find it tough to vote yes on tax hikes.
Today’s talks did not produce an agreement but did they make any decisions on anything?
House Speaker Lee Chatfield: “I feel very encouraged by the conversation we had with the governor today..”
Skubick: “Did you make any decisions?”
Chatfield: “We made the decision to keep working on it.”
Skubick: “That’s not a decision is it?”
Chatfield: “That’s a very important decision.”
Not only does the governor want more road revenue, she wants most of it to go to southeast Michigan, which creates a challenge for the outstate Republican Speaker.
“I agree that the southeast Michigan roads are in worse shape than northern Michigan,” said Chatfield. “What I want to make sure is that no taxpayers from northern Michigan are raising taxes only to fix the roads in southeast Michigan. That’s unfair.”
So the talks between the governor and the legislative leaders continue with an air of optimism hanging over the talks.
The Speaker says, “we’ve come a long way and we’re getting closer.”
Which is better than saying, we quit.