I'm not a Snyder Republican, as those who read this blog know, but I'll give him some credit. He crashed today's townhall meeting at Cleary over in Howell. Originally, this was a Bill Rogers/Cindy Denby event. Snyder's earned some respect from me for going out and defending this, especially when the MEA flooded the place with their union supporters blasting cuts. I still don't support all of the Snyder budget, mostly the tax increases.
Snyder talks about shared sacrifice and reinventing Michigan. His budget does not reinvent Michigan at all. It has the same problems of budgets over the last dozens of years.
All the budget fights is over about 18% of the real budget ("discretionary" budget of 8 or 9 billion). I didn't get a chance to grab a packet of the actual numbers (Thanks to Bill Rogers for having those there and on the slides). The real budget is the 45 Billion that is collected in taxes. 80%+ of the real budget is considered off the table. Why? The explanation I am told is due to either federal matching funds requirements or the Michigan Constitution. This is from all the reps and staffers I know.
That explanation is unacceptable. It's Lansing thinking. I know where it's coming from. I understand it. I can not accept it. As for the federal decisions, it's time to stand up to federal mandates, even if it means giving up some of those federal bribes. As for the constitutional restrictions, we have a process to deal with them. State Constitutional Amendments. If Rick Snyder really wants to reinvent Michigan, and I think he does, he can do so by using the bully pulpit by push for an Amendment opening up the rest of the budgets to get rid of our structural deficit. This can be done. It's not easy, but it needs to be done if there is going to be real budget changes and cultural changes regarding the budgets in Lansing.
If you want me on board with any "shared sacrifice" plan, you have to get to the meat and potatoes of the problem and not just 18% of the budget. Any plan that doesn't touch 82% part of the budget I oppose. Put it all on the table, and get this on the ballot for this August so we can get a real balanced budget without raising taxes.