Saturday, May 14, 2011

Extra Billion Dollars Threatens Snyder's Agenda

People are going to have a hard time understanding how the state of Michigan can take in $1 billion more than anybody thought they would over the next two years and still be so broke that we have to slash aid to schools, universities, and local governments.

But that's the scenario that is playing out for Rick Snyder.

We don't have the final official projetions yet. That will come Monday when officials of the House, Senate, and Treasury Department arrive at a consensus on how much money the state will take in the rest of this fiscal year and the year beginning Oct. 1. But based on estimates already released by the House and Senate fiscal agencies, we know it will be a big number.

The House Fiscal Agency is projecting $910.4 million in revenue over the next two years that it didn't expect. The Senate Fiscal Agency is projecting more than $1.2 billion.

So all that business about how we have to slash school funding doesn't seem quite so necessary. Snyder's demands for slashing university funding, cutting revenue sharing, closing prisons, and on and on is going to leave the public scratching its head.

Snyder has just raised taxes on senior citizens and the poor and the state has just found $1 billion, but we can't afford to run our schools and prisons, or fix our roads and bridges?

That is going to be a tough sell. The public will sacrifice when it has to, but only when the reason for it is clear. That's no longer the case.

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