Skubick: Are Democrats key to passing the sales tax hike?

The opposition leading the charge for a no vote on the road fix/sales tax hike has two advantages at this read. (1) A simple message: Vote no on raising taxes and (2) the four coalitions are united in message, desire and will-power.

Boy does the governor wish he could say the same thing.

Let's begin with what appears to be an emerging reality in the Safe Roads Yes campaign. It will likely need more Democrats to win this thing, given that the Republicans are divided.

Proof? Just look at the House GOP caucus where Speaker Kevin Cotter dare not try to arm wrestle some of his members to join the yes vote effort. Some of his colleagues would rather move to Ohio. Which is why the GOP caucus will not take a vote to back their governor.  

Other challenges. The governor originally had a bi-partisan team that had entry into Democratic circles, but it took a hike after an internal dispute with the governor's office. The new team is all GOP all the time according to one critic.

So in recent days the yes campaign has enlisted the help of Bob Emerson, a former Democratic legislative leader, to open some of those D doors. And it is working. AFSCME will endorse the governor's plan. That would apparently be the first union to do so.

But frankly others in the labor movement are "dragging their feet" as one source describes it. There is still bad blood on the floor over Right to Work and the WWP strategy firm hired by the campaign has a history of working against labor according to one D source.

To halt the foot dragging, labor has been told the facts of life. Even though it doesn't like this governor, he may be the best friend labor could have if the conservative GOP legislature comes after labor following the May 5th state wide vote.

The pitch to labor is clear: Work with this governor now and if and when anti-labor stuff gets to his desk, hopefully he will recall that help and not sign legislation labor does not want.

More indications that Democrats are key to a Gov. Snyder win. Early polling suggests the Dems are more in tune with spending money on the roads, and giving $700 million for schools, needy families and local governments which this package does.

But the very fact that the same $700 million was tossed into the pot by the governor to win Democratic support to place this on the ballot, is one of the major themes the opposition is pounding hard. "It's a waste of money," opines Paul Mitchell the former congressional GOP candidate who is back in the saddle this time taking on his own governor, whom he says he likes.

Mr. Mitchell says if it was a "clean" proposal i.e. $1.2 billion for the roads and nothing else, even he might vote yes.   But it is not.

And now comes some internal grumbling in the education community.   It does not like the fact that the yes campaign is no longer highlighting the possible $200 per pupil increase if this tax hike is adopted.  

Aware of all this, the governor made the rare move the other day to include in his budget presentation a 15 minute sales pitch from Lt. Governor Brian Calley who asked lawmakers to join the crusade.

Who knows how many of them sat there saying to themselves, fat chance?
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