Monday, May 18, 2009

Michigan Budget Deficit Reaction: What's Wrong With This Picture?

Last Friday, the fiscal gurus in our state government decided on the target figure - $1.72B - for our budget deficit for FY 2009-10. This number is based on GM and Chrysler emerging quickly and smoothly from bankruptcy; if they don't, all bets are off.

The reporters at Gongwer went looking for reaction to the number, and asked legislative leaders what they intended to do next. Here are the answers:

Senate Republicans. Matt "My Boss Is Running For Office So I Need To Tone It Down Now" Marsden pulled out the usual "cuts and reforms" blah blah that they are famous for, and announced that they will be on a "retreat" today and tomorrow to discuss the issue. We did get this confusing and illogical quote from Ron Jelinek though...

"Deep cuts are being made everywhere to balance the 2009 and 2010 budgets and even deeper cuts will have to be made to stimulate and revive the economy. We cannot depend on stimulus funding to help us out as there is not enough of it to fill-in the holes this year or next," he said.

Cuts take away from the economy, they don't "stimulate and revive" it. Unless that was some sort of weird code, and they are still going to try and sell us the insane theory that "more tax cuts" will somehow fill this budget hole. Next...

House Republicans were ready with their standard "cuts and reforms" answer as well:

And House Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Bellaire) said even as the budget requires serious attention, and his caucus is committed to finding cuts and reforms needed to balance it, "the ongoing budget crisis cannot be a distraction to the real issue of getting Michigan back to work."

So far, neither of these two have had to put their "cuts and reforms" on the table, and the governor and Democrats are taking the blame on the fallout from the cuts already made. This would be a great opportunity for the Dems to take control of the message, explain the situation and get their spin out there, right? Yes! Go!

So without further ado, here is the House Democrats answer to the budget news... drum roll please...

House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) was unavailable for comment Friday.

Speaker Dillon, don't make me start yelling at you again, man. I don't blame you for not wanting to talk to the Lansing press corps. But please, come up with something to say, even if you run the risk of getting torn apart for it later. "No comment" is unacceptable, and it happens all too often.

Democrats need to get their message out there, whatever it is, or Republicans will own the airwaves and set the tone - and knowing them, they will find a way to spin it to make you pay.

We've been down this road before, haven't we?