Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Put Down the Scissors, Senator Bishop

Cuts were at the top of Mike's agenda for this lame-duck session. The current budget shortfall just filled him with glee, thinking that here was the big chance to take it out on some workin' folks...

Bishop said Monday that cost-cutting should include cutting wages for employees of the corrections department.

... maybe even some students, if need be...

He said cutting funds to public schools would be a last resort, but added, “Nothing is off the table.”

That wasn't entirely true though. There was one area off the table.

The House and Senate overwhelmingly voted last December to make legislators work longer before having most of their health premiums picked up by taxpayers.

Neither chamber passed the same version, however, so the old system remains in place. And lawmakers seem content to let the issue die rather than deal with it when they return in early December.

The lack of urgency leaves the impression that legislators weren't serious about the issue and instead used it as a ploy to assuage angry taxpayers in tough budget times.

So, no cuts for them, just cuts for you. You could see the twinkle in his eye as he contemplated who would feel the steel of the knife, but wait... what's that? The voice of sanity and reason? Yes! Yes it is! Dastardly Mike is being foiled by Barack Obama, who is coming to the rescue of Michigan and other states that are facing the devastating consequences of the Bush Recession!

No specific numbers were discussed during the meeting, Granholm said, but she added Obama indicated the stimulus package "will happen" and states are likely to get relief for Medicaid costs and help with job-creating state infrastructure projects as soon as January.

She said the dollar amount to Michigan "will be significant" and that promise of relief will temper the executive order budget cuts she will announce later this month. State fiscal analysts have estimated the federal help will amount to at least $400 million and could be more than $650 million.

"It will lessen the need right now to do immediate, drastic cuts," Granholm said.

Projections that the cuts coming this month will be in the $400 million range likely won't happen, she said.

"We are not seeing the revenue reductions we otherwise would have been expecting," the governor said. "We do not want to force these cuts on programs that help people... when we know we're getting relief."

Curses! And he would have gotten away with it too, had it not been for those meddling Democrats!

Poor Mike. Might actually have to do some constructive work now. Or, he might just call it a year and leave town since he won't get what he wants.

Maybe it's better that way.