Skubick: Is there enough support to pass this next road plan?

The critics contend if you think House Republicans fixed the ugly road problem in Michigan, think again.

"It's not a comprehensive solution," was the battle cry among Democrats, which is code for there wasn't enough moola in the thing to get the job done.

There was enough in this 12 bill package for everyone to find something to despise.

Let's start with the governor who objected to several elements.

The House GOP Speaker Kevin Cotter proposed to pay for future road repairs with future economic growth dollars although he said after the vote "this is not contingent on expected growth." Gov. Rick Snyder demands a steady and more reliable revenue source. In other words a tax hike that is not based new money that may or may not materialize.

Speaker Cotter did have some new revenue totaling about $38 million hitting electric and diesel car owners now and everyone else later on with an automatic gas tax hike tied to inflation.  

However there were a dozen Republicans who signed the no tax pledge and eight of them stiffed their leader by refusing to vote for higher fees. Three Democrats crossed over to help pass the revenue piece.

The governor also had problems with the Cotter math. The governor wants $1.2 billion every year while the House GOP raised just over a billion dollars over four years.

The governor also rejected the swiping of $135 million from the state's economic growth agency and the senate GOP leader was not to fond of that either.

House Democrats had a field day blasting the Speaker for eliminating a tax credit for 780,500 needy families. "He's paving the roads on the backs of the poor," the Ds said over and over again. Rep. Al Pscholka tried to rescue Mr. Cotter by explaining the income tax credit program was riddled with a 25 percent to 30 percent fraud rate and he noted that the federal tax credit was left untouched helping 94 percent of the citizens receiving the assistance.

Give the Speaker credit, he delivered what he said he would do when he released the package earlier this year. But if it does not get the job done, his critics argue it is a hollow victory.

His supporters counter the speaker knows this is not the final product but he has advanced the conversation while behind the scenes he is working with the other players to craft a "real" road fix that goes beyond what the house did last week.

In addition the speaker has never ruled out the tax increase option. In the end, betting money is, he'll be there, but will there be any Republicans standing with him?

Yes there will be some but the really smart folks in town predict he can't get 56 of his colleagues to vote yes which means the Democrats are back in the driver's seat with the power to deliver enough votes to pass it. And just as they did last time they want assurances that the GOP leader will not jam the repeal of prevailing wage down their throats. If he does they will take a hike on helping him.

Some suggest that the GOP controlled senate will slice and dice this House plan by removing the hit to the MEDC, and add new money through some sort of a reliable tax hike.

But  Senate Republicans raised taxes last year only to see the House Republicans trash that leaving those senate folks with a tax hike egg on their collective faces.

Will they walk the plank again without assurances that Mr. Cotter and company will play ball  this time? Probably not.

So you add all this up and you can plainly see this ain't over yet and even the speaker seemed to agree as he called passage, "a significant step toward fixing the roads." A step is not the same as a solution.

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