Cynical Synapse

Mon, 28 Sep 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Filed under: Budget, Economy, Government, Medicine, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 9:47 pm

The Good

Lions quarterback Stafford celebrates narrow win over Washington

Detroit’s pro football team, the Lions, finally broke their two-season losing streak on Sunday. They beat the Washington Redskins 19-14 in front of a home crowd at Ford Field, with 40,000 or so in attendance. Owner William Clay Ford said, “We got King Kong off our back,” of the event. “Nightmare over!” said play-by-play radio announcer Dan Miller. Ok, I get this is great news for Detroit and its incredible sports fans, but it’s one freaking game! The Lions are 1-2 for this season and so are the Redskins, who won against St. Louis the week before.

Michigan is receiving $25 million Stimulus money, most going to metro Detroit. In Detroit, the Federal money will clean up blighted commercial areas, repair 10 miles of roads, offer low-interest loans to start-up businesses, and help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Oakland County’s share will fix aging sewer pipes, repair roads, and provide a safety path to a shopping center. In Macomb County, the money will provide business start-up support to unemployed residents. Livonia and Dearborn, in Wayne County, will repair infrastructure and provide energy efficiency assistance to low income residents.

The Bad

prison-closed

Budget negotiations are calling for a $98.5 million reduction in Corrections. This is based on Gov. Granholm’s strategy of paroling 3,500 inmates who have served 120% of their minimum sentences and closing 3 prisons and 5 prison camps. Legislators also intend for Corrections to cut $841 from the annual per-prisoner cost. Good luck with that.

In the meantime, legislators slashed 40% from state aid to local libraries. Thus, only $6 million in state money will support local libraries.

Did I mention that lawmakers have already agreed to cut 8.3% from higher (college) education, although that bill has net yet been voted on? That’s on top of the $80.5 million slashed from Promise scholarships, the $72.2 million from other grants and scholarships, the $400,000 dropped from National Guard education assistance, and the $10.5 million eliminated from “No Worker Left Behind”. Um, yeah. Michigan’s really building the workforce of the future.

The Ugly

pot calling the kettle black

Democrats blasted Republicans for a weekend conference at Mackinac Island without pointing out the Democrats also took a 3-day weekend. Let’s not forget the Republican-led Michigan Senate passed a balanced budget in June. With a state government shutdown looming in less than a few of days, for weeks, now, we’ve been hearing the Democrats say they’re “very close” on a budget deal. But, Republicans don’t seem to see it the same way. As I noted yesterday, several key budgets still need resolving. Close may still be too far. Did I mention the Democratic House took the whole damn summer off?

In the world of the bizarre, this one’s got to be in the running for some type of award. Michigan Democrats propose taxing physicians to offset Medicaid reductions. Now, I know the legislature is big on fuzzy math, but come on! “If you pay 4%, then we won’t cut payments by 4%.” What’s up with that?

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