Seems like ages ago that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers struggled for a way to close the gap between revenue and expenses in the state budget for this year. Things looked pretty bleak.
But what a difference a year makes.
The New York Times for Monday (March 17, 2008)carries a front-page piece on the dire condition of state budgets, with 25 state budgets facing deficits this year.
An acompanying chart shows ten states with the largest per person budget gaps for fiscal year 2009 -- ranging from $472 in California (run by GOP golden boy Arnold Schwarzenegger) to $170in Virginia.
Michigan is not on the chart. Granholm, with the aid of lawmakers of her own party and a courageous few from the Republican side, took care of our state's problems, although the situation remains dicey with the economy so precarious.
The prevalence of problems elsewhere now shows Michigan's problems were not about Michigan "over-spending" or being mismanaged. It was about a recession that Michigan entered first and that now is widespread.
Our national economy needs attention -- the same kind of retooling that Granholm is trying to do here. We need to focus on alternative energy, creating "green" jobs, reducing our dependency on foreign oil.
And while the national economy is tanking, Republicans have nominated John McCain, who admits he doesn't know much about economics.