Friday, December 31, 2010

Crystal Ball-Gazing for 2011

It's time to get out the crystal ball and project what's ahead for Michigan and Livingston County in 2011. (Hint: It's not pretty.)

10. With Republicans in control in Lansing, the GOP will go after poor and working people with a vengeance, wacking programs such as health care for the poor, pensions for teachers, salaries of prison guards, and so on.

9. Republicans will look for someone to blame for their problems in balancing the state budget while giving huge tax breaks. They will turn to scape-goating
immigrants, passing anti-immigrant measures like Arizona's which will never save the hundreds of millions of dollars they claim but will burden everyone with having to carry papers to prove our citizenship over and over again.

8. Michigan's economy will continue to improve as out-going Gov. Jennifer Granholm's priorities for diversifying the economy continue to take hold and the reborn auto industry sees on-going growth. Republican Rick Snyder will take credit for the upswing and the news media will let him get away with it.

7. Michigan's film industry tax credts will survive any Republican repeal effort, but lawmakers will impose new reporting requirements that they would claim were burdensome and job-stifling if Democrats had imposed them on any other industry. Nevertheless, the new reports will let the news media write hard-hitting stories on topics such as how much money was spent on George Clooney's make-up for "Up in the Air." Rep. Cindy Denby will faux express outrage at the expense.

6. Republicans will attempt to override the will of the people by passing legislation repealing voter-approved measures allowing stem-cell research and medical marijuana.

5. Republicans will do their best to gerry-mander legislative and congressional districts so that more safe Republican districts are created, diminishing real voter choice at the polls. But redistricting at the congressional level in a way that protects all GOP incumbents will prove harder than they anticipate and create GOP in-fighting.

4. Rick Snyder will turn out to be far more conservative than the news media portrayed him during the campaign as the Engler administration appointees he brings in and the ultra-right Republican Party dictate policy on key issues.

3. The Howell school district will be embroiled in a new controversy that involves the right of Christians to be mean to anybody they want to because that's what they say their religion means, but really boils down to the administration wanting to beat up on teachers.

2. Livingston County will continue to shovel county responsibilities, such as law enforcement and road maintenance, onto local townships, requiring them to raise taxes so that Republican county commissioners can crow about their low tax rates. Services will continue to deteriorate, as wait times for 911 response go up and road conditions go down.

1. Townships such as Handy in Livingston County will have difficulty making their payments to the county for the $100 million spent for water and sewer systems built for private developers. Some townships will begin exploring naming an emergency financial manager, but the development will be concealed from the public for months.

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