Most people with common sense (which, apparently, escapes our state legislators) realize the solution to Michigan’s current budget crisis must include both cuts and revenue (tax and service fee) hikes. Discussions on tax hikes are a big topic in the news but there’s not much about what’s being considered for cuts. So, to help our inept lawmakers out with some practical options, how about this for the Top 10 Things to Cut?
10. Make DIT part of Management and Budget—why does it need to be a cabinet-level department anyway? Besides, don’t you think the techies would rather be part of BIT (Bureau of Information Technology) than be called called DITs?
9. State-owned cars—if agencies have offices and employees where they’re needed, why are there so many state-owned cars constantly on the roads? Relocate the people and offices if they’re not where they need to be so they can use “windshield” time for their jobs instead.
8. Sell the excess MDOT equipment—MDOT has one or more yards full of millions of dollars of brand new trucks and equipment just sitting there. If they need it, then use it; if they don’t need it, then why was it bought in the first place?
7. Eliminate MIOSHA and DEQ—29 other states are happy letting the Feds take care of private sector employee safety and health. And what does DEQ do that the US EPA can’t? Why not let Michigan “cost-share” something back to the Feds for a change?
6. State employees cutting grass—contract this service out and reduce the total area being cut. For example, prisons aren’t supposed to be appealing anyway, so why cut their grass at all?
5. New State Police headquarters—The State Police didn’t ask for this $116 million no-bid deal, which lawmakers approved without question, and their present headquarters seems to be more than adequate while also complimenting and benefiting from MSU’s Criminal Justice program. It’s a questionable deal at best and unnecessary at worst.
4. So-called Intelligent Traffic System—lots of money has been wasted to put in costly variable message signs and camera controls for traffic lights. The stupid signs rarely have any useful information on them about actual live traffic conditions. The traffic lights are out of sync with each other and fail to see cars are backed up behind them sometimes for more than a half mile! Not to mention a room full of people to “manage” them. What’s the point? Shut it down and save the utility costs and the wasted salaries.
3. State liquor warehouses and deliveries—last time I checked, private industry did just fine getting their products from factory to stores without needing the government do do it for them.
2. First Gentleman’s Staff—probably won’t save much money compared to the $1.75 billion budget gap. But, it just looks bad and doesn’t benefit the state or its citizens anyway; it’s all just pomp and circumstance.
1. State Legislature—they can’t do their jobs anyway, so why do we need to waste $54.3 million on them?