Monday, June 22, 2009

More Energy Stimulus. That's a Good Thing. But What About the Budget?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu continues the stimulus road show today, visiting Battle Creek to talk about energy efficiency and the United We Serve effort. It's nice to be receiving all this attention, isn't it? Yes, it is. One question though: Did he bring the check with him? How fast can we produce these jobs? Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing...

Michigan will receive $32.8 million in federal grants to reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Monday.

That’s part of $82 million the state will receive overall for energy programs under the federal stimulus plan.

Chu, who visited Battle Creek, said Michigan will use the money to help reduce energy consumption in public buildings by 20% by 2012, and create new markets for renewable energy systems, particularly wind energy.

The grant will pay for energy audits of 500 homes and businesses, conducted by the state’s two largest utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy. The audits will be used to develop energy efficiency methods to be used statewide.

... and, Secretary Chu will announce another very good thing tomorrow. Ford, for starters, is going to be approved for "billions" in loans to produce energy efficient cars...

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel Tuesday to Dearborn to announce the agency has approved Ford Motor Co.'s request for billions in federal loans to help fund the development of new, fuel-saving vehicles and technologies, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Ford, along with the other Detroit automakers and some foreign manufacturers, applied for loans under the $25 billion Department of Energy loan program, which was approved by Congress last September.

It was not clear whether Secretary Chu would announce the approval of loans for other automakers at the same time.

... but I'm going to be totally honest now. While I completely agree with what the administration is trying to accomplish here and I'm grateful for all this help, the cuts we are talking about making to our state's education, health care, revenue sharing and social safety net in the meantime are starting to really disturb me.

Really bad. As in, I'm having a really hard time writing right now. As in, I'm going to take every Democrat in this state and completely and thoroughly destroy them in writing on this blog if they don't start a) explaining the budget problem to people, and b) telling us what they are going to do about it. The revenue problem needs to be explained. The cuts we are going to have to make need to be explained. If you lay the ground work now, it will go down easier when it happens.

Seriously people - if you think that the public was pissed that the SOS offices were closed last Friday, just wait until you tell them that you are going to bankrupt their local school system. Oh, didn't hear about that one? That's because it really hasn't been reported that the Senate Republicans destroyed the state budget last week. I've jettisoned posts that had titles such as "Michigan Democrats Can Kiss 2010 Goodbye" and "Drown Government Crowd is Going to Get Their Wish" because I totally went off the deep end in stark raving fear over things that haven't happened yet (key phrase there), simply because I'm not seeing any pushback from the Democrats on what went down. And no, no one cares about the stupid police HQ in Lansing or the Canadian trash right now. Trust me on that one.

So, we loves us some stimulus. Honest we do. But, if the Democrats in the Legislature don't get up off their ass and start to warn people about what is coming here for this state in the short term - watch all these happy thoughts go bye-bye in a flash. More to come on that, when I can pull myself together and sound rational. Not sure when that will be.

Stimulus news needs to start being balanced with reality. Right now. These projects are going to take time to bring some benefits to our economy, and that needs to be mentioned repeatedly to help us have patience and deal with the pain that is coming in the immediate future. Or, you can take everyone by surprise, like last Friday, and have them get really, really mad at you.

Your choice Lansing. Don't say you weren't warned. And yeah House Dems, this is mostly directed at you. The Senate can't do it alone.

Your thoughts, Speaker Dillon?