Cynical Synapse

Thu, 26 Mar 2009

Little Cuts and Big Spending Don’t Equal Out

Filed under: Economy, Life, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 6:38 pm

On the way into work Tuesday, I heard 3 stories that didn’t add up. Must be that new math thing.

First, Michigan, in it’s dire economic condition, is giving back asbestos inspections to the Federal government. This will save the state $250,000 annually. The state will also forgo $100,000 in yearly federal subsidies. Seems like this adds up to $350,000 less spent in Michigan each year.

Second, the state plans to spend $10 million on tourism advertising. Now, while I understand tourism is important to the state’s economy, I’m not quite following the fuzzy math on how $250,000 is unaffordable but $10 million is. Am I missing something? Don’t misunderstand. I’m leaning toward giving back to the Feds everything Michigan can, like MIOSHA and DEQ. No need to spend state dollars on federal programs. But, I’m opposed to the state “nickle and dime-ing” on some things and going overboard on others.

Third, State House Republicans proposed cutting state employee wages by 5%. How do you suppose that sits with the workers at the same time the state announces a $10 million ad campaign? I suspect some don’t appreciate the direct, if perhaps unintended, implication they have to fund tourism advertising.

Fourth, today, the State Senate approved elected official pay cuts recommended by Gov. Granholm, who already gives 10% of her salary back to the state. The Senate approved the State Officers Compensation Commission plan which delays pay cuts until 2011. I’m sure the 52,000 state workers targeted for a 5% cut now think that’s fair. Why didn’t the Senate vote to give up 10% now? They can decide their own pay regardless of the SOCC. Let’s not forget, Michigan’s legislature is the second-highest paid, exceeded only by California. And, since 39 states get by with a part-time legislature, I’m sure our state employees have no issue with deferring legislative salary cuts for 2 years. The 10% cut in 2011 will certainly balance out with their 5% cut now, won’t it?

Michigan’s economy is in a severe crisis. Gov. Granholm and the legislature need to get beyond politics and do what’s right for the state and it’s citizens. The fiasco of the 2007 government shutdown should still be of concern to all of us.

As for balancing Michigan’s budget? I’ve already given my ideas.

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