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With friends like these in the Michigan GOP, we really don’t need Democrats, do we?
For my last post of 2022, I would like to take a stroll down memory lane momentarily, and point you to the fact that the red wave that never was, was more like a red puddle and it was not very deep. Republicans nationally barely took back the House and lost a seat in the Senate, which made the national GOP look foolish.
Thankfully here in Michigan, the GOP makes the national party look both sane and well-run, which it is not, as RedState Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar wrote about here. I truly never get sick of the Republicans of Michigan seeing something bad happening, and someone yelling “HOLD MY STROHS” — as they try to top that.
The Michigan Republican Party lost control of the legislature back in November by one seat, both in the state House and the state Senate. They had held control of the state Senate for over 30 years and now, the Democrats will control the Governorship, also. So, what bill should the Michigan GOP pass right at the end of the lame duck as they walk out the door?
How about an 85 million-dollar boondoggle to help keep afloat a boondoggle?!!
Here was a story from last week, which turned into a signed bill in the here and now.
Michigan taxpayers will chip in $85 million for the free rides on Detroit’s QLine street car over the next 17 years under legislation awaiting the governor’s signature.
A bill headed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, which her office said she would sign, would lock the state into a $5 million annual subsidy of the Woodward Avenue street car through 2039. Lawmakers approved a $5 million annual appropriation in the fall of 2020 during the depths of the coronavirus pandemic when the street car’s operation was halted and bleeding cash.
That subsidy was supposed to last three years. Now state taxpayers may be supporting the QLine’s operations for up to two decades after the House early Thursday voted 70-27, with 12 lawmakers not voting, to approve a two-bill package containing the subsidy. The Senate approved the package on Nov. 29 in a 27-10 vote, with one lawmaker abstaining.
Governor Whitmer signed this bill a couple of days ago thus ensuring that five million dollars a year will continue to go to a streetcar that runs on a track, for a little over three miles, in the city of Detroit. The ridership per day is just under 3,000 people; this cost over 140 million dollars to build and has never come close to breaking even.
So, why would one of the last acts of the Michigan leadership in the state House and the state Senate pass something that is the exact opposite of fiscally responsible?
State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, a Traverse City Republican who sponsored the bills, said the slow return of office workers to downtown Detroit necessitates “a little more assistance” from Michigan taxpayers.
“It’s still a good asset for downtown, it’s still a component of the rebuilding of downtown,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt, who leaves office at year’s end because of constitutionally-mandated term limits, views the QLine as important to long-term economic development and population growth in Detroit and Michigan as a whole.
A dinky rail car that is barely used in the city of Detroit, has never come close to breaking even, and – it’s anticipated – never will, is important for the long-term economic development of both Detroit and Southeastern Michigan, according to a Republican walking out the door.
The state of Michigan is in some deep trouble. The Democrats take over Sunday night at midnight, and I can’t see where the Republicans have any clue of what to do going forward. In fact, with one of their last official acts spending 85 million dollars on a train circling for three miles in Detroit as a gift to Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Democrats, why do we even have an opposition party?
Happy New Year Michigan–it only gets weirder from here.