Has Governor Granholm found
her mind? Yesterday, Granholm proposed $670 million in spending cuts for the coming fiscal year. Oh, for sure, her proposed budget also relies on $500 million in one-time federal bailout money and $230 million in higher liquor fees and such. Those are very important flaws, but for a moment, lets be positive: Granholm is actually proposing spending cuts
Her cuts would almost completely replace her "needed" 22% increase in the Michigan Business Tax she imposed over a year ago. That tax hike cost struggling businesses a hefty $700 million in higher taxes just over a year ago. Remember when Granholm said Lansing absolutely HAD to hike your taxes because there was nothing left to cut is the state budget? Well, she finally found some unnecessary spending.
The cuts include state employee layoffs and further unspecified concessions from state employee unions. Her proposed cuts also include:
• $50 million in earmarks to pilot programs in education that serve only a single school district
• No more subsidies to state fairs
• Elimination of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries
• Eliminating duplicate energy programs
• Turning over wetland permitting to the federal government
• Eliminating the Office of Drug Control Policy (which duplicates identical federal bureaucracy)
Why the sudden willingness to finally cut spending? What's changed since Granholm's big tax hike? Well, it wasn't long after this past November elections that Granholm ruled out more tax hikes:
"You will not see a tax increase from me in this year coming up. We still have to do our job to cut and restructure.
" Gov. Granholm, – The Detroit News
, December 23, 2008
The Governor also told WJR 760AM radio talk host Paul W. Smith that "raising taxes was too hard
" when he asked about her new pledge against further tax hikes.
Too hard? What suddenly made raising taxes too hard?
Remember the taxpayer recall campaign against House Speaker Andy Dillon, who pushed Granholm's last tax hikes through the legislature? Granholm, Dillon, and the rest of the legislature sure remember.
Dillon survived the recall attempt at November's ballot box. But the recall battle left significant scars on the face of Lansing's political establishment. Democratic House Floor Leader Steve Tobocman lamented in his December farewell address that his Party was forced to spend over $500,000 to save Speaker Dillon from recall. Dillon's own campaign finance reports detail an additional $167,000 spent to survive. Much more was spent "off the books" by Lansing recall opponents.
Lansing discovered that tax hikes entail a hefty price. The bruising, bitter, quite vicious, recall battle left severe financial wounds on the state's biggest political party and political incumbents shaken. Citizens proved they could "go the distance" against the powerful House Speaker, and force a recall election against overwhelming establishment resources.
Recall proponents - citizen activists - sapped the willingness of Granholm to entertain another fight with organized taxpayers.
Hang in there,
MI Taxpayers Alliance