Then I finally figured out why.
First, to recap both houses voted earlier this month to repeal the bizarre, much-disliked tax on a strange assortment of services.
To prevent that tax from taking effect, they had to repeal it no later than today, since it is scheduled to take effect at midnight. All they needed to do is iron out the differences between the two bills.
Republicans and Democrats alike agreed they needed to do this. They also agree, if reluctantly, that the only way to replace that revenue is to increase the new Michigan Business Tax, which itself doesn’t take effect until New Year’s Day.
Actually, the smarter and more honest of the legislators know perfectly well that increasing the state income tax, at least temporarily, would make more sense fiscally and otherwise.
But that’s not going to happen because the lawmakers lack the courage and the political will to raise income taxes again.
So, they need to finish the job. Yet here we are, ten hours before deadline, and they still haven’t stopped the train.
That’s even more baffling when you consider that last week a new EPIC-MRA poll showed that eighty-three percent of Michigan citizens have a totally negative view of the job the legislature is doing. I have never seen poll numbers that bad in my life, for anybody.
You would think ratings that bad would be a powerful incentive for both parties to get their act together.
But it clearly wasn’t, and here’s why. You may not want to hear this, but most of them don’t care what you think or what you want.
They don‘t care very much, anyway. Oh, they don‘t want to be removed from office, which is what a recall election would do. That actually has prevented some of them from doing the right thing.
And some of them want to be elected to other offices when term limits force them to leave their current jobs in a few years.
But right now, you aren’t who they are working for.
They are thinking about their next jobs, which in many cases won’t even be in politics. That’s another of the many disastrous effects term limits have had on our state.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop can’t run for another term. He will need a job, however; he is a young man with young children.
His background is in real estate; he has positioned himself as the champion of business. He needs to demonstrate to them that he’ll go to the mat for their interests, not yours.
He is far from alone. Thirty of his thirty-seven colleagues also can’t run again. Neither can forty-four house members, all of whom will be out of a job in a little over a year.
Their eyes aren’t on our long-term future. Which is why those of us who live here, and who want a future, are in trouble.