Cynical Synapse

Thu, 09 Jul 2009

Poll: Cut State Legislature First

Filed under: Behavior, Government, Michigan, People, Politics, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 8:30 pm

In an Epic-MRA poll released yesterday, most news sources report voters prefer to cut the state legislature before schools, police, and fire. I went to Epic-MRA’s site, but their only reference to the poll is a PDF version of the Detroit News story on the poll. Fortunately, WXYZ has posted the entire poll results.

Frequent readers will know this plays right into my perspective. I’ve been disenchanted with Michigan’s legislature since the state government shutdown fiasco of 2007. Recently, I’ve called for state legislators to share the pain. Had they cut their staffs and pay by 10%, Michigan could have avoided laying off 100 State Troopers, one of the areas the poll says voters want least affected. Voters’ priorities: local schools, police and fire, and State Police.

As I first heard the story on Lansing’s National Public Radio (NPR) station, WKAR, Epic-MRA’s Bernie Porn blamed term limits:

“The legislators do not look at the long-term problems and long-term plans and solutions,” he says. “They’re more attuned to the six years they have to serve.”

That’s different from our so-called representatives in Washtington, how? They don’t think beyond the current term in office either, and they’re not subject to term limits. I’ll admit term limits presents some difficulty in that no legislators are truly “experienced” with the system, but I think the anti-sheeple benefit far outweighs the cost. By that, I mean state legislators can only serve so long. People who tend to vote incumbent have no choice but to pick someone new from time to time.

Porn also annoyed me by saying the Legislature eats up less than 1% of the state’s total budget, and “cutting funding would hardly be worth it.” Tell that to the 100 State Troopers that got laid off! They’re way less than 1% of the budget, but they’re out looking for jobs now. Meanwhile, Michigan’s legislature, the second highest paid in the country, is on it’s two week summer recess.

Wizard Kitten observes “citizens want their government services”. There is a certain amount of government services I expect and I don’t want to pay fees for those services. Realizing that, if the services cost more than current revenues, I have to accept additional taxes. If I don’t want more taxes, then I have to accept reduced services. That’s not a complicated mathematical equation. The poll results on WXYZ’s site show where people’s priorities are.

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