Dome Magazine held its first “Capitol Brew” legislative breakfast on June 8 at the Lansing Radisson. IMP Editor Susan J. Demas moderated a panel on this year’s state budget featuring Appropriations Committee Chairs Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) and Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell).
In our latest subscription-only edition of IMP, we rounded up some great quotes from the event in “They Said It.” Here are a few bonus quotes:
“For one thing, I would have drank the [Flint] water for 30 days after I promised I’d drink it. Notice there was a little break in that? Yeah, ‘I gotta go to Europe or wherever’? No, when you get out there and you promise something to the people of Michigan --- ‘I’m going to drink this water for 30 days’ --- by golly, they better see you drink it for 30 days. That was a mistake, in my opinion.” --- State Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) taking the hatchet to GOP Gov. Rick Snyder over interrupting his water pledge to embark on a trade mission to Europe.
“You sound like a politician.” --- Former House Speaker Chuck Perricone, owner of Dome Magazine, to House Energy Chair Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), who danced around the question if the Senate would pass sweeping energy reform before summer break.
“As we see with all these sort of bigger LGBT issues, the more people get to know the realities of what’s going on, the less people are scared and they move on to the next thing. I think that’s what’s going to happen here.” --- State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) on the so-called “bathroom bills” Republicans have introduced that would bar transgender students from using the facilities of their choice.
“I had a constituent of mine and his name was Sen. Harry Gast. And he ran the budget up here for 18 years. … He was my constituent and I talked to Harry every week or so. Harry knew more about the budget than most folks up here. So two weeks before Harry died --- he died in September of ’15 --- Harry said to me, ‘It is your job, Al, as Approps Chair to make sure people understand parts of the budget.’ So wherever I go, and whatever I do, I give you two minutes of budget boot camp. So listen up. So it’s $54 billion and I was doing a town hall meeting in Lincoln Township and a guy … stood up and he said, ‘Why can’t you clowns in Lansing find 2% of the budget to put $1 billion into roads?’ … That’s a fair question. But [he] had a basic misunderstanding of how the budget works. So I did budget boot camp with [him]. And it goes like this. The pie is $54 billion --- that’s true. $24 billion is federal money. I can’t take food stamp payments, I can’t take Medicaid and pay [for] the roads with it. … $20 billion is restricted funds. What is restricted funds? It means just that. You have to spend it on its purpose. Most of that is K-12 and transportation. So now the clowns are left with about $9.9 billion. But the clowns don’t get all of that, either. Because you have to use matching funds to draw down the federal money. So that’s about $3.3 billion. So the clowns have about $6.6 billion to spend and [Appropriation Subcommittee Chairs] John Proos and Dave Pagel take about $2 billion of it for prisons. And Higher Ed takes about $2 billion. And we’ve got to pay down the debt of about $1 billion. And we run 13 departments on $1 billion. Are you getting the picture here? There’s not a lot of extra money just laying around.” --- House Appropriations Chair Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville).
“I think I would try to do that in the Senate, but I don’t think any senators would show up.” --- Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) on Pscholka’s budget boot camp idea.