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By JGillman, Section News
Its pretty hard to stay away from the national issues sometimes.
There is the inability of our leadership to just say "forget about it" when their opponents suggest lifting caps, and spending more of our children's soon to be taxed heavily again inheritances. There is a weakness when it comes to doing the right thing like throwing out a few babies with bathwater. There is a real lack of courage coming from our Republicans IMO.
But I am not yet giving up.
Sure, I would like to see the cap held. No more! Stop! Cease! But in the spirit of "compromise" the house gave a little. In fact, the bill sent through would have still allowed a minimum of $2.5 trillion increase in the debt, adding both principle and of course the expected financing measures.
And the senate said nah, not good enough.
So frankly, to heck with them. Its time that Michigan's congressional delegation simply takes a stand. One that is solidly for NO increase in the debt. None. Nada.
More below ~
(5 comments, 753 words in story) Full Story
Cross-posted in The Wizard of Laws
Not a long post today, just something that bugs me.
Some people are assailing the just-announced compromise on extending the Bush-era tax cuts, complaining that it will cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars.
This is sheer nonsense or, as we say, sophistry.
Keeping tax rates the same means that the government will continue to extract the same percentage of income from you and me that it has taken in the past. Thinking of that as "costing the government money" is to argue that it is the government's money to begin with.
Taxes cost US money. Keeping taxes where they are does not "cost" anything.
Maintaining tax rates at their current levels "costs" the government the same way that steel vaults "cost" bank robbers or alarms "cost" car thieves.
(6 comments) Comments >>
Republicans acting like Republicans. Novel concept. I like it. Muy much!
RightMichigan has learned that this morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer and the caucus will be unveiling a genuinely sweeping package of budget cuts and reforms that won't only balance the books and eliminate the Granholm-Cherry administration's $1.8 billion budget deficit, it'll also free up $700 million in federal "stimulus" funds the Democrats were planning to burn on the bloated bureaucracy.
And all of that without raising taxes a nickel. Which would also be a pleasant switch.
The "Reinvigorate, Reinvest & Reform Plan" is being described by House Republicans as a comprehensive package of government reforms, targeted budget cuts and prioritized spending that protect the most essential of government services while freeing up nearly $700 million in federal stimulus funds that can be used to invest in programs that create jobs and help pump life back into Michigan's languishing economy.
"This is a plan that shows the budget can be solved without raising taxes - it offers tangible solutions and real savings for this and next year's budget. There is no fuzzy math, no hidden agendas or falsehoods here," said Elsenheimer (R-Kewadin).
"We offer this plan to majority caucuses, the governor, the State Budget office and most importantly, the taxpayers of Michigan. It's one solution to our crisis and anyone is welcome to use some or all parts of it. We have no pride of authorship, we only want to help balance the budget and put Michigan on the right track."
Love that last line. A little bit of selflessness and genuine interest in solving problems goes a long way in my book. But I might just be sappy.
Alright, so what does the plan actually do?
You can check out the entire proposal, including line-by-line, department-by-department savings and reforms by clicking the plan below.
Big picture, the plan, among many, many other things looks to:
Reading those bullets, though, one doesn't get a sense for just how big a package of genuine cuts and reforms (with real savings) we're talking about here. Just a few of the other reforms and line-items found in the House GOP proposal:
That's really only scratching the surface. This is one of the more comprehensive plans I've seen since this budget crisis really got cooking several years ago.
Please, read on...
(26 comments, 769 words in story) Full Story
There's a well known piece of scripture found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that reads "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." In other words, you can tell a lot about a man's priorities by how he spends his cash. Or how he doesn't.
I think the same principle translates pretty well to the legislature where our elected officials spend tax dollars on the items, people and programs they believe are important while holding back from items they view as less important.
Too often these days, though, doing a little case study of Michigan electeds will leave a guy scratching his head, confused and disappointed.
Exhibit A: Democratic Attorney General candidate Gretchen Whitmer and her state Senate colleagues.
Several weeks ago Whitmer and the Senate Dems voted to approve the Granholm-Cherry executive order firing 100 state troopers, taking freshly trained and hired law enforcement officers off the streets and away from our neighborhoods. The move, they told us, was the only way the state could possibly save $1.7 million.
Turns out that wasn't quite the whole truth. This Tuesday Whitmer and team voted AGAINST cutting the legislature's budget by $2.5 million, a move that would have saved more taxpayer cash annually than the trooper cuts, further cutting into that nasty deficit. Better to spend the cash themselves... on themselves... than on keeping cops on the street.
And as ugly and selfish a move as that was they topped themselves in session on Thursday.
We've been covering the Michigan State Police boondoggle literally for years. From Representative Arlan Meekhof's update earlier this week to our examination of the original appropriation back in June of 2007, we've been on top of the story.
By way of reminder, the Michigan State Police currently lease their headquarters in East Lansing for the grand total of $1 a year. One dollar.
The Michigan State Police do NOT want to move. They've said so. Explicitly.
So, obviously, the only thing for the Granholm-Cherry administration to do was to approve a $117 million plan to build a new MSP headquarters in downtown Lansing. And just to sweeten the pot, they made sure that A) the new building wouldn't be large enough to house all of the MSP operations, necessitating additional facilities, B) made sure there was a massive yearly lease to replace that all-together-too-reasonable $1 rate and C) made sure Democrat sugar daddy Joel Ferguson, a long-time ultra high dollar donor to Democratic candidates and causes and a personal friend of Governor Granholm got the contract to do the development and rake in the taxpayer cash.
Attorney General Mike Cox this week informed the legislature that legally they could get out of the entire brain dead scheme if they simply pulled back the funding. Yesterday the Senate voted to do just that.
The GOP Majority amended the State Police budget, SB 253, to strip funding for the "triangle project." Gretchen Whitmer and her Senate Dem colleagues then voted to protect their donor's payday by attempting to strip the amendment that killed the funding. They opted to waste $117 million on a new building MSP doesn't want after firing 100 of the men and women for whom it was supposedly being built.
Thankfully their attempts failed and the GOP amendment stuck.
Meanwhile, Troopers across the state are expected in the next few days to vote to dramatically cut their own pay to save their fellow troopers' jobs. Their hearts are unquestionably in the right place. In an amazing place.
Only wish the same could be said of Gretchen Whitmer.
(5 comments) Comments >>
For months state Senator and likely Dem Attorney General candidate Gretchen Whitmer has risen to the floor of the Senate, making one campaign speech after another and almost every time she has argued that the chamber needed to dramatically cut the legislature's budget.
Given the opportunity yesterday to do just that, Whitmer joined fifteen of her Democratic colleagues and voted NO. Worse than the simple fact that Whitmer and the Dems voted against right-sizing the legislature's budget is the fact that their vote came only a couple of weeks after they approved, en masse and on record, the Granholm-Cherry administration's decision to fire 100 state troopers.
The General Government appropriations bill, Senate Bill 245, was approved Tuesday on a Party line vote. Each of the Republicans present and voting approved a $2.5 million annual cut to the Senate's budget while each of the Democrats voted against it.
By way of comparison, it's worth noting that the EO firing 100 state troopers represented a total cut of $1.7 million. In other words, the Democrats' Attorney General candidate and the rest of the big-government Senate Left could have kept 100 law enforcement officers on the street protecting our neighborhoods, cut their own budgets and still saved taxpayers an additional $800,000 each year.
But that isn't what they did. I mean, fighting crime, saving jobs and supporting law enforcement is important. Apparently it just isn't as important as protecting the status quo when it comes to office allotments.
Tells you a thing or two about Whitmer's priorities and her sincerity when she's on the stump... errr... making comments on the Senate floor. And this is the woman who wants to be the state's top law enforcement official?
(1 comment) Comments >>
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