The governor proposes, the legislature disposes, and off we go into what should be another "interesting" year in Michigan Budget Kabuki Theatre. Bits and pieces have leaked out - here is a rough outline from MIRS, who used the word "bloody" twice in their story last night:
Roughly $600 million in General Fund cuts is on the table, with the state's 15 universities on the chopping block for a 3 percent slice. The Department of Corrections is on the hook for roughly $120 million in cuts and the department of Community Health and Human Services roughly $100 million a piece.
State funding for the arts, which has shrunk to $8.5 million, is expected to all but disappear, but in eliminating the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, funding for libraries is expected to survive untouched.
For the second time in her tenure, the Governor will propose some employee concessions, but likely not enough to avoid layoffs.
The K-12 budget will also not be immune from Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM's bloodiest budget proposal yet. Schools are expected to see $160 million in cuts, with reductions in the foundation allowance and the categoricals.
State revenue sharing to municipalities and state funding for community colleges are expected to be held flat.
On the corrections budget, two or three prisons are expected to disappear as the department looks to release more prisoners who have served at least their minimum sentence.
According to reports, the governor gets roughly to halfway there on the $1.4 billion. "More blood!", say the Republicans.
Interestingly, the primary sense from the Legislature is that the Republicans are ready to not only applaud the Governor's proposal, but ask for more cuts, insinuating that the entire $1.4 billion hole should be taken care of in cuts as opposed to using whatever the state receives from the federal stimulus package Michigan is expected to receive.
Does that mean Republicans are suggesting we turn down any stimulus money? (While the details haven't come out yet, it has been said that some of the federal money is conditional on states NOT making cuts to certain things) If so, that might put our Michigan Republicans in a Wingnut League of Their Own; I don't recall any state saying that "all cuts" would be good, except for maybe Utah. Everyone else is looking forward to having the money to save education and health care for their citizens.
Fasten your seatbelts.