Monday, October 04, 2010

Hey Big Spender: Snyder's Promises at Odds With the Republican Agenda

Another day, more promises from Rick Snyder to restore funding to programs that Senate Republicans forced us to cut. Today it was the Pure Michigan campaign; let's use the Gongwer headline to get the full effect:


Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder said Monday he would prioritize funding for the "Pure Michigan" tourism campaign and make sure it has enough money to last a full fiscal year.

Quick review on what has happened with Pure Michigan in the past year. During the budget bloodbath of '09, funding was cut to $5.4 million for FY 2009-10. That pretty much eliminates the campaign; you can't buy national TV advertising on that little of a budget. In December, House Democrats passed a plan that would have restored funding to the full $30 million. Senate Republicans would not act, and by the end of January, tourism officials and businesses were left pleading with the Legislature to please make a decision on funding, as they needed to get the ad buys in to be on the air by March.

Senate Republicans stalled through February, finally acting in the first week of March to add $9.5 million to the campaign, bringing the total to only half of what we needed. The House Democrats turned around and passed another plan in mid-March for the full funding - and the Senate Republicans, led by Nancy Cassis, shot it down again, leaving us at the $15 million mark for the year. The campaign finally hit the air late, and the decision was made to target only for the summer dollars. Fall and winter would then have to be canceled - and they were.

In May, Senate Republicans slashed funding again back down to $5.4 million for FY 2010-11. There it sat all summer until we got around to passing the budget in the final few days of September. Senate Democrats made an effort to restore at least $10 million to the campaign, and guess what? You got it, once again, Republicans said "No!"

"No one disputes the importance of Pure Michigan. But we had a massive deficit we needed to take care of," Mardsen said.

"We're having to live within our means, and they have to learn to do things more efficiently," Marsden said.

In this case, "efficiency" means "Republican obstruction is costing Michigan jobs and money" when they refuse to fund this obvious money maker. Unless the Legislature acts in the lame duck, Pure Michigan, which has been credited with bringing us $600 million in tourism dollars this year at a rate of return pegged at $2.23 for every dollar spent, will be canceled for next year.

Now Rick Snyder is running around the UP, promising to restore full funding to Pure Michigan, when as you can clearly see, it was his party that keeps insisting on the cut in the first place, his party that refused to consider any and all attempts to find consistent funding for the future. How does he plan on getting this past his own people?

And that's not all. When it comes to spending, Pure Michigan isn't the only thing Snyder is promising that Republicans have refused to fund. Keep in mind we are faced with about the same budget deficit figure next year that we had this year, around $1.6B or so. Snyder said today that he also wants to "reimburse doctors properly" in Medicaid funding - the Senate Republicans had planned to cut that by 4%, until the feds bailed us out in the end. Add that to his promise to increase funding for mental health the other day, which Senate Republicans had planned to cut 20% this year. And his promises for more money for revenue sharing? Senate Republicans had planned to cut that 4% as well. Everyone see the problem here?

So, how does Snyder fund all these programs AND cut business taxes too? Hmmmm. Doesn't look possible, does it. His own party obviously won't let him do the things he is promising to do. Tell ya what - let's avoid all this fuss, and just elect Democrats instead. After all, they wanted to fund these things too, but the Republicans wouldn't let them - and we wouldn't want to put Rick through the pain of all that obstruction from his own party, would we?

That wouldn't be very nice. Better to let him down gently now. It's the "efficient" thing to do.