Rick Snyder, should he be elected, will be faced with a budget deficit in the area of $1.6B. He is promising to make that hole even bigger with a $1.5B tax cut for business. And to top it off, he is again promising to increase spending as well. How to pay for all of that? Snyder seems to think that we can make up those dollars by finding "efficiencies" in state government.
Increased investment in mental health would result in long-term savings for the state, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder said this morning on a call-in radio program on the Michigan Public Radio Network.
"We've cut too much on frontline mental health services in this state, and by doing that we've actually increased the cost of government," Snyder said. "They end up on multiple E.R. visits, hospitalization and/or homelessness -- or they end up in the corrections system.
Agree. We should increase funding for mental health treatment, for all the reasons above. It has been suggested before, by many different people, usually those socialist liberal types. Republicans have insisted on cuts though. Too bad. So, where is the money, Rick?
The Ann Arbor businessman said Michigan needs a "value for money" approach to budgeting that would direct money to programs that produce the greatest long-term results and economic efficiencies. That means funding for some services, like mental health, could increase.
Snyder said he would improve efficiencies across all state departments to fill in the budget gap that would result from the loss of the Michigan Business Tax, which he would eliminate. He hopes to replace it, in part, with a 6 percent corporate business tax.
Snyder did not name programs or state departments where cuts should be made. He said the greatest savings would come from increasing efficiencies across the board and reforming the state's regulatory system.
Doh! Just do the stuff that works! Like they aren't doing that now? And, given the budget difficulties that we have faced over the past few years, does anyone actually think there are billions in "efficiencies" just hanging around the state government for the taking? Seems to me these guys have shaken every penny out of the sofa and then some, and as it stands, we have departments that aren't sure exactly how they are going to make the cuts in front of them now. If billions in savings could be found, they would have done it already. It's just not there.
Snyder has now promised more money for cities (if they meet some undefined criteria, that is), more money for mental health, and "would invest more in preventive medicine and primary care", although he supports the current attempt from Cox to exempt us from federal health care reforms. Have a funded health care plan of your own to share, Mr. Snyder? Other than "efficiencies"?
More items of note from this morning's radio chat:
• Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or if the pregnancy would result in the death of the mother; does not support an exception for the "health" of the mother.
• Does not think there are too many universities in the state, but they should share services.
• Believes K-12 school districts and municipalities should voluntarily consolidate services but wouldn't force them to merge.
• Would work on ways to implement medical marijuana rules that ensure it is used only for medical reasons.
• Would not repeal Proposal A or change the way K-12 schools are funded, but would strive for greater economic efficiency in the education system and better performance.
• Would not support a new tax on services, at least in the short-term.
• Opposes a progressive income tax.
On the last three items, you could say that he opposes any attempt to pay the bills at all - although someone might want to pin him down on what "short-term" means. If he is actually talking about increasing government spending in crucial areas and raising taxes, I'm down with it. Sounds like a plan. But I bet some people in funny hats with tea bags dangling from them might have a problem with that idea.