The state with the nation's highest unemployment rate has run-up a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall. The state government is depending on funds from the federal stimulus to fill a good portion of the gap. It's so nice that those federal tax dollars went to covering politicians' spending shortfalls rather than, say, creating "shovel-ready" jobs!
But policymakers in Lansing will have to agree on spending cuts (gasp! what a novel idea!) or tax increases (perfect for an already struggling state economy) in order to reach an agreement and keep the state's government agencies from shutting down:
Republicans want Democratic lawmakers to propose and pass tax increases, giving the GOP possible fodder to use against Democrats in next year's elections. Democrats hope to get a leg up by painting GOP lawmakers as willing to hurt children rather than reinstate estate taxes on the right.It'd be nice if the legislators in the state capitol who created the mess were looking out for the taxpayers of Michigan. But instead, both parties are focused on next year's elections, not today's sour economy.
The question now is whether Michigan will follow the path of the eight other states that failed to pass budgets on time: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.I don't know about you, but I'm not going to hold my breath on this one.