Friday, September 18, 2009

A Look at the Michigan 2010 Budget Cuts

The following list is by no means all-inclusive, and reports are now that the cuts will go even deeper than what the Senate Republicans passed in June. For example, this list reports a $90 million cut to revenue sharing for cities, and as of last night, Gongwer is now reporting a $163 million cut to revenue sharing. That's quite a difference. The list also doesn't contain overall department cuts; for another example, the Department of Corrections budget isn't listed at all, but the target cut is $78 million - and officials say that means the possible closure of three more prisons. So when looking at the list below the jump, keep in mind that the numbers have changed, and not everything is listed.

An update on where things are now:

Governor Granholm is standing firm on rejecting some of these cuts. Keep in mind, her proposal cut very deep in the first place, but the scope of the Bishop/Dillon cuts will, in her words, "hurt Michigan". Gongwer sources claim that she is telling aides, "I'm not running for anything", and is not worried about the political fallout from stopping this so-called "bipartisan" deal if need be. Granholm issued a statement last night praising the Senate Democrats' plan that "protects Michigan citizens from harmful budget cuts to public safety and education programs". Since she mentioned them twice, it's pretty easy to tell which "Democrats" the governor is siding with on this issue.

As far as a veto, it's not clear how it would work. Peter Luke reported that Dillon is considering lumping all the budgets together as one single bill to try and ram it through the legislature and tie her hands on the matter. This would appear to eliminate a line-item "correction" that could be made (Gongwer again):

Officials said if the Legislature moves ahead with the budget agreement reached by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) then they would expect to see either a continuation budget take place on October 1, or so many line item vetoes that the proposal would be unrecognizable.

If the second scenario took place, under this thinking, legislative Republicans would be forced to come back to the negotiating table to restore a variety of programs they support by reaching agreement on reducing the impact of the cuts in the agreement.

While the speculation among many observers is that Ms. Granholm would sign the budget, or at least not veto it, in order to prevent a shutdown of state government, aides say she is not wavering from her belief that the budget would hurt the state in the long term.

Senator Prusi made this stunning statement about the budget yesterday, "I will be encouraging my grandchildren to leave the state because if we go down this road we would not have a state worth living in." Tells you where the Senate Democrats are on this.

As far as the House Democrats go, apparently they are waking up to the numbers and finding that they just can't get there from here. Alma Wheeler Smith said of the Corrections budget:

Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem Twp.), chair of the corrections budget, said of her $78 million in cuts, "I can't get $28 (million) in cuts."

She said she would propose changing the state's truth-in-sentencing laws in order to cut the number of prisoners and save money, but she was certain Senate Republicans would reject that approach.

Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard), looked at the Community Health budget that would "literally put Michigan residents out on the streets" and asked, "Where do they go?" Gongwer claims that House Democrats are concerned about getting enough votes to pass the deal, which probably means that Dillon would have to rely on Republican votes to get this through the House.

And if you haven't figured out that Speaker Dillon is doing the bidding of Mike Bishop and the Senate Republicans yet, just check this next statement from Marsden:

Of the possible doubt among Democrats, Bishop spokesperson Matt Marsden said Mr. Bishop trusts that Mr. Dillon "will be able to deliver what he needs to deliver to get this accomplished."

As reported yesterday, Senate Republicans are downplaying, if not flat-out rejecting compromises and other ideas to solve this problem. Their stance has been to immediately fall back on the "signed" agreement with Dillon. It appears that they are dead-set on seeing these "bipartisan" cuts go through (meaning they can hold them against Democrats later), period, and will not commit to any supplemental bills that might be proposed.

City leaders, school officials and community groups are rounding up the torches and pitchforks, declaring that this budget threatens, well, everyone. They reject the idea of trying to pass something later to restore cuts, and are now rallying House Democrats and the Governor to reject Dillon's deal with Bishop. This sentence said it best:

One official described the mood as one of "collective shock" that House Democratic leaders would essentially embrace the Senate Republican plan to enact deep cuts in college scholarships, Medicaid, revenue sharing and K-12 education.

Following is the list of cuts, all credit goes to the AP. Keep in mind it is not complete, the categories fall a little different (there are 15 budgets overall), and the numbers are based on the Senate Republican budgets that passed in June.

  • Cut K-12 school funding by $110 per pupil, dropping the lowest foundation grant to $7,206 per student: $174 million. A waiver would be required from the federal government to keep stimulus education funds.
  • Michigan Promise Grant college scholarship: $140 million.
  • Grants to K-12 schools with declining enrollments: $20 million.
  • Adolescent health centers in schools: $5 million.
  • School readiness program (pre-schools): $104 million.
  • Reduce adult education funding: $2.4 million.
  • Great Parents Great Start ISD programs: $5 million.
  • Funding to create smaller high schools: $8 million.
  • Vocational education funding by 10 percent: $2 million.
  • Math remediation grants: $1 million.
  • Math/Science Centers and Health/Science Middle Colleges: $6 million.
  • Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy, (program run by the Michigan National Guard for high school dropouts or near-dropouts): $1 million.
  • Other college financial aid programs and scholarships: $48 million.
  • Stop reimbursment for community colleges for property tax revenue lost because of renaissance zones: $4 million.

    Family Assistance and other Human Services
  • $10 per person per month cut in the Family Independence Program, dropping the maximum grant for a family of three receiving welfare to $462 per month: $31 million.
  • Children's clothing allowance from $88 per child to $43 per child: $6 million.
  • $14 per month cut to Supplemental Security Income, provides assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities who live independently: $30 million.
  • Cut hours and provider rates for child day care: $80 million.
  • Strong Families/Safe Children grants: $4 million.
  • Families First program that helps train new parents: $1 million.
  • Cut Department of Human Services field staff by 179: $16 million.
  • Add fewer foster care workers, management and support staff at the Department of Human Services: $26 million.
  • State Disability Assistance grant by $5 a month: $1 million.

    Health Care
  • Non-Medicaid mental health services $54 million more than the governor recommended: $62 million.
  • Payment rates to health care providers who treat Medicaid patients by 8 percent: $355 million.
  • Move more people from nursing homes to community-based settings: $49 million.
  • Mental health initiative for older residents and respite services for caregivers: $3 million.
  • Cut substance abuse services by 5 percent: $1 million.
  • Loans for health care providers who establish practices in medically underserved areas cut in half, as the governor recommended: $1 million.
  • Reduce Healthy Michigan programs : infant mortality, minority health, poison control centers, senior nutrition services, diseases ranging from heart disease to arthritis: $20 million.

  • Revenue sharing payments to local governments (police, firefighters, other city services): $90 million.
  • Cut Employment and Training support programs by 43.5 percent: $13 million.
  • Close Adrian Training School for young women; close the Nokomis challenge Center and State Community Juvenile Justice Centers: $7 million.

    List Source: Detroit News/AP
    Other source on quotes and numbers:Gongwer News Service.