So when one of the cities in your district receives $4.8 million for new streets, sewers, and water lines from a bill that you voted against, how should you react?
If you're Republican Mike Rogers, you say, "Streets, sewers, water lines? That's not what you need. You need tax cuts!"
That's more or less what Michigan's 8th District congressman did earlier this week when Gov. Jennifer Granholm came to Howell to tell its city officials that they were one of the first cities in Michigan to qualify for money from President Barack Obama's stimulus package.
In her appearance Tuesday, as covered by the Livingston Press and Argus, Granholm said funds were being distributed through existing channels to make sure the money goes to projects that local communities have identified as their priorities and to de-politicize the process. Remember, this is Livingston County, that bastion of red surrounded by a sea of blue, getting money that not one single Michigan Republican lawmaker voted for. That's pretty non-political.
Rogers, in his statement after the president's budget message, paid lip service to wanting to put people back to work, but then called for doing it by spending less to help cities like Howell, saying, "We can do that if we stop spending like it doesn't matter how far we run up the national debt and if we reward rather than punish small businesses for creating the jobs that are so crucial to our future economic health."
"Rewarding" small businesses is GOP code for tax cuts.
But Rogers doesn't explain how cutting taxes for small businesses will help the city of Howell fix its streets, install sewers and replace old water lines. Tax cuts don't do those things.
But as city officials know, the $4.8 million in stimulus money means that the city of Howell will have to borrow that much less money to carry out its $24 million improvement plan. So instead of having to increase property taxes 2 mills to get the job done, it may have to levy only an additional mill.
That's tax relief, but Mike Rogers can't take one iota of credit for it.