Our Republican lawmakers haven't stooped that low yet, but Michigan is on the verge of a government shutdown because they're unwilling to consider a budget that includes any tax increase whatsoever. It should be pointed out that polls show a majority of Michigan voters support a tax increase combined with spending cuts. (It appears the MIGOP is taking a lesson from George Bush who also doesn't care what polls say.) If a compromise isn't worked out soon, libraries are facing a 50% reduction in money, Medicaid payments to doctors and hospitals will be cut 6%, and local districts will face a $125 per pupil cut.
Speaking of that $125 cut, here's an example from MiLib of a state Republican - Michelle McManus - who would make Montana's GOP proud:
Last Thursday, a group of 4th graders from Crystal Lake Elementary School in Benzonia took a trip down to Lansing to meet with their legislators at the Capitol, including State Senator Michelle McManus (R-McManus Family).That was a pretty petulant response on McManus' part, and it also sent those children the message that government doesn't care about them. How ironic that Republicans believe in building democracies, but they don't care about building the foundations that benefit our children.
On the bus ride down, the parents on the trip - some Republicans, some Democrats and some independants - talked with the kids about Michigan's budget crisis, including the $125 per pupil cut that will be made if the Republicans don't cover their expenses in the next 24 days. These cuts would cost the students of the Benzie County Central School District, which includes Crystal Lake Elementary, $246,285.
In response, the kids took part in a silent protest:
This was way, way too much for Michelle McManus. In response, she allegedly called the Capitol Tour service and tried to have these 4th graders banned from the Capitol building. That's right: a second term state senator responded to a silent protest not aimed at her but at the budget situation in general by trying to ban a group of 4th graders from ever visiting the site of their state government again!
If you care about our children, read this letter a parent from Crystal Lake Elementary is sending around the state and then urge our legislators to do the right thing:
email Sen. Mcmanus @ firstname.lastname@example.org with -125 in the subject line----- Please let her know that she is elected by us, and her Job is to LISTEN to US--and let her know that we are very disappointed in her unprofessional behavior , then let her know that ANY cut to schools will impact us and hurt our children---Another cut this year will be the third pro-ration cut in the last five years......As an elected official she has an obligation to provide Michigan with more than bargain basement services--- and that Education is the KEY economic developmental tool for MichiganAre you listening, Republicans? Building a future for our children should be non-negotiable.
Update: MiLib posted a reply from Sen. McManus. She denies having the children banned from the Capitol and accuses the parents of using the children as props in a political demonstration, but her words ring pretty hollow since MiLib includes extensive pictorial examples of the times McManus used children as props.
Update 2: MiLib reports that the media is now onto this story.