Thursday, February 19, 2009

Michigan Budget Deficit is Due to National Recession

Ha! I knew it. Let's go back a week, when Matt Marsden said this:

"For us to accept the stimulus package and not address the problems that have gotten us to this place - a $1.6 billion deficit - is irresponsible," said Matt Marsden, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

Well, we better start addressing Republican economic policy then, because you ARE the problem, Matt. According to the Senate Fiscal Agency (the people that crunch the numbers for the Michigan Senate), our current budget shortfall comes courtesy of George Bush and the Republican Recession. Take it away, Gary Olson:

If the national economy hadn't dropped into recession, and if the state had not approved the film credits or the Earned Income Tax credit, the state's FY 2010 budget would be $64.5 million in the black, the SFA reported today.

I don't know the numbers on the EITC, but the film credits weren't all that much (compared to some of the numbers we talk about around here) and they made us more money than they cost, so roughly, we were right in the ballpark for '08. The governor doesn't agree, but we all know she's no fun, being all "responsible adult" and stuff. Olson went on:

The Governor told the media that she saw roughly $900 million of the $1.4 billion budget hole for FY 2010 as being "structural" and the rest being a symptom of the down economy. But Olson told the Senate today that the budget was actually "structurally balanced" in its '08 budget and that nearly all of the $1.2 billion hole is due to the economy.

Commenting on this year's budget, Olson said, "This is certainly an imbalance. Whether it's structural or not, I'll leave that up for you to decide."

Are there things we need to fix? Yes, of course. Fix the MBT so everyone will stop whining about it, first of all. Can we streamline and be more efficient? Sure. But as far as our current budget problems go, we can thank the national economy for that.

Another talking point bites the dust.