Thursday, October 08, 2009

Six O'Clock News: Long Time No See Budget Edition

I stopped doing these on a daily basis because they take an ungodly amount of time to put together, but today there has been a bunch of little items that I wanted to put up here...

  • Budget update. No news is no news. Well, there was a little news. The House passed the extended bar hours bills out of committee, such a no-brainer idea that it should have been done long ago. All the hand-wringing over "more drunks" and "moral values" is a bunch of crap, take it from one who used to leave work at 10PM and drive to Chicago because the bars there are open to 4AM (true story). I bet that still goes on today in the southwestern part of the state. Time to join the rest of the modern world and get rid of the stupid prohibitionary laws that don't work. If people want to drink, they will find a way to drink, doesn't matter what time or day it is. Trust me on that. Might as well let someone make a buck on it.

  • Looks like we are going to need to sell a whole lotta those extended hours licenses. The House Fiscal Agency estimates that we are another $130 million in the hole, which I'm sure will lead Mike Bishop to say that we need to cut revenue some more. (He hasn't yet, but call it a hunch). Read this Detroit News story for all the details and exciting news about looking at gambling for revenue as well. Same theory as above applies.

  • Streamlining government. Governor Granholm issued an Executive Order that combines the DNR and the DEQ together in an effort to save money in the long run. The order takes effect January of next year, and it remains to be seen whether or not the "cut government" crowd will complain about this as much as they did when she cut HAL. Funny how every time you start to actually "reform" government, the Republicans want to stop you. Why is that?

  • As I was typing this, the inbox chimed with the news that the governor has signed three of the budget bills - community colleges, the judiciary and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "I look forward to completing the rest of the budget as soon as possible," says the release. I bet she does. The governor gave a lengthy interview to Paul W. Smith this morning on WJR AM-760, where she called for "pragmatic people" to compromise.

    Granholm acknowledged GOP leaders proposed a balanced budget some time ago that didn't include new taxes, but said it cut so deeply that it would hurt the state irreparably.

    "They did it, and they eliminated the promise scholarship. They did it by slashing public education to the tune of $218 dollars per pupil, which will force some school districts to go into bankruptcy. They did it by slashing revenue sharing to cities, so the city of Detroit is going to lose $32 to 38 million dollars. That means police and firefighters on the street. They did it by slashing the Medicaid rates for the providers so low that we're going to see nursing homes closed and seniors put out into the street."

    Republicans have made their statement, Granholm said, and now it's time for a compromise.

    Too bad for her that there are so very few "pragmatic people" in elected office these days. You can listen to the whole interview at the link above.

  • From the Be Careful Who You Get In Bed With file comes this interesting development: It seems the university presidents who signed on with the Business Leaders for Michigan group didn't really mean it when that group then called for approval of the budget plan that included the elimination of the Promise Scholarship. Live by the wingnut, die by the wingnut. Not like you weren't warned that "business" will be more than happy to cut school funding.

  • At last word, the House and Senate were to reconvene tonight at 7:30 PM, in the hopes that at least a continuation budget on school aid can happen before some districts have to close their doors on the 20th. (that's the new rumor being floated in various places) Probably would be the pragmatic thing to do, right? Keeping the schools open is high on the list of what makes an attractive state for "business". Let's hope they realize that, and get something done.